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The story of pro football 



The story of pro football. 


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Urn Thorpe 
The Greatest of Football's Greats 








First Printing, September, 1953 




Football's Hall of Fame 11 


1 Football Perfection 21 

2 The Early Days 32 

3 The National Football League .... 41 

4 Whistle Stops 49 

5 Papa Bear 57 

6 Red Grange and Co 6$ 

7 Chicago Bears, Bear Down .... 80 

8 Cleveland before Brown 89 

9 That Man Brown 98 

10 Cleveland Does It Up Brown .... 105 

11 The Los Angeles Rams 113 

12 Potsy, Dutch, and Dick 122 


13 The Lions Roar 132 

14 Little Town in the Big League 141 

15 Green Bay Draws Blood 150 

16 Hinkle, Berber, and Hutson .... 158 

17 The Maras and Stout Steve 167 

18 The Football Giants 176 

19 Leemans to Cuff to Price 185 

20 The Magnificent Marshall 196 

21 Redskins on the Warpath 205 

22 SlinginSajn 211 

23 Bell, Bill, and O'Brien 224 

24 Neale and the Thompsons 233 

25 The Eagles Fly High 242 

26 Driscoll, Nevers, and the Cardinals . . 254 

27 The Big Red 263 

28 Prince Albert 273 

29 The Forty-Niners Pan Gold .... 282 

80 Little Arthur Rooney 291 

81 The Steelers' Iron Men 298 

32 Orphans of the Grid Storm 307 





Jim Thorpe 

The Greatest of Football's Greats 

Opposite page 


86 George Halas, Danny Fortmann, Bronko Nagurski, 
George McAfee, Joe Stydahar, Sid Luckman, Roy 
"Link" Lyman 

87 Guy Chamberlain, Heartley "Hunk" Anderson, 
Clyde "Bulldog" Turner, George Trafton, Harold 
"Red" Grange, Ed Healy, Bill Hewitt 


110 Dante Lavelli, Johnny Drake, Mac Speedie, Marion 
Motley, Otto Graham 

111 Bill Willis, Corby Davis, Art Lewis, Lou Groza, 
Paul Brown 

Opposite page 


120 Riley Matheson, Dan Towler, Daniel F. Reeves, 
Elroy Hirsch, Norm Van Brocklin 

121 J. Hampton Pool, Bob Reinhard, Tom Fears, Jim 
Benton, Bob Waterfield 


138 Doak Walker, Frank Sinkwich, Bobby Layne, 
Grover "Ox" Emerson, Earl "Dutch" Clark 

139 Lloyd Cardwell, Alex Wojciechowicz, George Chris- 
tensen, G. A. "Dick" Richards 


164 Clarke Hinkle, Teny Canadeo, Don Hutson, Earl 
"Curly" Lambeau, Lavern "Lawie" Dilweg, Arnie 

165 August "Mike" Michalske, Cecil Isbell, Charles 
"Buckets" Goldenberg, Howard "Cub" Buck, Cal 
Hubbard, Verne Lewellen 


194 Alphonse "Tuffy" Leemans, Mel Hein, Steve Owen, 
Timothy J. Mara, Len Younce 

195 Ray Flaherty, Ed Danowski, Ken Strong, Ward Cuff 



222 Ernie Pinckert, Wayne Millner, Wilbur Moore, 
Sammy Baugh 

223 George Preston Marshall, A. G. "Turk" Edwards, 
Dick Todd, Cliff Battles 


Opposite page 


252 Steve Van Buren, Davey O'Brien, Vic Sears, Vic 
Linclskog, Jack Ferrante, Tommy Thompson 

253 Abisha "Bosh" Pritchard, Earle "Greasy" Neale, Joe 
Muha, Albert "Whitey" Wistert, Pete Pihos, Frank 


270 Stan Mauldin, Fred "Duke" Slater, Charley Trippi, 
Paul Christman, Mai Kutner, Marshall Goldberg 

271 Jimmy Conzelman, John L. "Paddy" Driscoll, Marlin 
"Pat" Harder, Ernie Nevers, Charles W. Bidwill 


288 Bruno Banducci, Leo Nomellini, Joe Perry, Norm 
Standlee, Frankie Albert 

289 Hardy Brown, Hugh McElhenny, Lawrence "Buck" 
Shaw, Gordon Soltau 


304 Bill Dudley, Elbie Nickel, Johnny Blood, Byron 
"Whizzer" White, Chuck Cherandolo, Arthur J. 


305 Joe F. Carr, Bert Bell, Elmer Layden, Norman 
**Bobie" Cahn, Andy Lotshaw, Ted Collins 


PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL is the best football, so it follows 
that the best players, of necessity, must be professionals. 

Understand, I have no quarrel with collegiate foot 
ball. I enjoy it and appreciate its merits to the full. I feel 
an autumnal Saturday, no matter how beautiful, is wasted 
if it doesn't find me sitting in on a football game. But the 
college game no longer can compare with the professional, 
any more than the brand of baseball played at old Siwash 
can be likened to the major-league variety, or an Olympic 
boxing star be compared to a battle-tested champion of 
the prize ring. The line of demarcation between the ama 
teur and the professional is as wide as the Hellespont 
and as difficult to bridge. 

Scores of players are named each year to the myriad 
All- American teams selected from the nation's college grid 
stars. Yet how many of them make good in pro football? 
The percentage is surprisingly low. Many fall by the way 
side, while others who attracted less attention or were 
hidden away in small schools, soar to the heights. 



Who were the greatest football players of all time? 
Heffelfinger of Yale? Brickley of Harvard? Michigan's 
Heston? Or even such moderns as Chicago's Berwanger, 
Princeton's Kazmaier, or Army's Blanchard? 

I think not. They were great; of that there can be no 
question. But for various reasons they didn't permit their 
talents to develop and mature in the professional field, in 
football's major league. They may be likened to Eddie 
Collins or George Sisler, had those baseball immortals 
elected to lay aside their gloves at the conclusion of their 
collegiate careers. 

A hero-worshiping alumnus or undergraduate scarcely 
can recall from one season to another the stars of his col 
lege team. But will any Columbia man ever forget Sid 
Luckman and the deeds he performed in his twelve bril 
liant seasons with the Chicago Bears? Minnesota could 
not decide whether Bronko Nagurski was a tackle or a 
fullback, but by the time he had closed his professional 
career the world hailed him as the one fullback who could 
not be stopped the man who ran his own interference! 

As a collegian Bob Waterfield achieved considerable 
fame on the Pacific Coast; Bobby Layne made headlines 
in Texas; Otto Graham was a good halfback at North 
western. Today millions of sports fans couldn't tell you 
where any of these three went to college, but they could 
talk for hours of their feats with the Los Angeles Rams, 
the Detroit Lions, and the Cleveland Browns. 

Don Hutson didn't catch the popular eye until his 
afternoon of brilliance in the Rose Bowl in 1935, but today 
he is universally recognized as the greatest pass-catching 
end in football history through his feats with the Green 
Bay Packers. 


Where did Sammy Baugli go to college? One person 
in a thousand, perhaps, could identify his school as Texas 
Christian. Yet thousands, perhaps millions, know him 
as the indestructible passer of the Washington Redskins, 
who was still setting records in his sixteenth season as 
a pro. 

A young lawyer isn't allowed to plead a case until 
he has passed the bar exam. A physician cannot practice 
until he has undergone an exacting internship. So it is in 
football A player is just learning his skills in college. He 
hasn't proved himself until he has completed his appren 
ticeship and earned his master's degree in the pro ranks. 

This is the story of these true All Americans, of the 
growth of the league they raised from chaos to stability, 
of the game they popularized until it is the lustiest young 
giant on the nation's sports scene. 

Thinking of these gridiron greats, even before I begin 
to tell their story, raises this suggestion why not a Hall 
of Fame for football? Major-league football has passed 
its thirtieth birthday and is growing in stature with each 
passing season. Now, it seems, would be the time to lay 
the foundation for its Hall of Fame now, while many 
of those who were active at its birth and in its early de 
velopment are still alive and able to participate. The 
passing of Jim Thorpe, who perhaps comes closest to mer 
iting recognition as the greatest individual player, points 
up the urgency of such a plan. 

Baseball has its Hall of Fame, yet in more than three- 
quarters of a century only some three score of the thou 
sands who have played in the major leagues have been 
elected to membership. In a picturesque, rustic setting at 
Cooperstown, New York, where Abner Doubleday laid 



out the first baseball diamond, are enshrined plaques to 
such heroes as Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, and 
Lou Gehrig, with a summation of the achievements that 
merited their perpetuation in bronze. Election is limited 
to those who have completed their careers, and so diffi 
cult is it of attainment that in many a year no one receives 
the required votes. Not even so storied a performer as 
Joe Di Maggio could make it in his first year of retirement, 
and such greats as Bill Terry, Ray Schalk, Bill Dickey, 
Red Ruffing, and Ted Lyons to mention but a few 
haven't come close to election. 

Football's Hall of Fame could be located in Latrobe, 
Pennsylvania, where pro football purportedly was born, 
or in Ohio, where it grew up. Of course, we are taking it 
for granted that its membership would be limited to men 
who played professionally, for only the pros remain in 
the game long enough to merit distinction above and be 
yond the normal run of Saturday's heroes. 

Thorpe unquestionably would be the first man selected, 
even as he was the first to head the professional league. 
The Indian's achievements are fundamental chapters in 
the story of America's great autumnal sport. So are those 
of "Red" Grange, who gave pro football its first real taste 
of popular favor. Those two belong for what they did for 
the game as well as for what they did in the game. 

Joe Carr should be included because it was his fore 
sight and industry that made pro football the great spec 
tator sport it is today. Elmer Layden, the first commis 
sioner, belongs. So does his successor, Bert Bell, for his 
incessant war against the corrupting influences that have 
sullied other sports and for saving the National League 
from the challenge of the All America Conference. Arch 



Ward, Chicago sports editor, might be included, too, 
because his sponsorship of the Ail-Star game focused vast 
fan interest in the pros. 

There are others who could be included for reasons 
aside from an ability to play football. "Shorty" Ray, for 
instance, the man who discovered there was nothing 
more boring than an 0-0 football game. Or referees like 
"Bobie" Cahn, Jim Durfee, and Tom Thorpe, who flavored 
a capable job of officiating with rare humor and under 
standing. Or Andy Lotshaw, who trained the Bears for 
three decades and who was such a master psychologist 
that he could crush a peanut shell between his teeth and 
convince an injured player he had popped a dislocated 
joint back into place. 

Or owners like George Halas, Tim Mara, George Mar 
shall, Art Rooney, "Dick" Richards, and Charley Bidwill, 
who contributed far more than money to the growth of 
the game; and Ted Collins, who lost a fortune at Boston 
and New York without once savoring the thrill of pro 
ducing a winning team. 

Let the National Football League announce such a 
shrine. The method of selecting its members would be 
immaterial. It could follow baseball's example, but in a 
contact sport such as football the true worth of a player 
can be overlooked by a spectator in the grandstand or 
press box. The players and coaches are best qualified to 
judge a man's worth. 

The Commissioner could name a committee of men 
affiliated with the league from its inception, to determine 
which of the old-timers belong in the Hall of Fame. Then, 
at a yearly meeting let each coach name, from his many 
opponents of the previous season, a player who he believes 



merits consideration. If several coaches name the same 
player over a specified number of years, then he would 
automatically be elected on retirement. 

The selection of players would provide the real fun 
and more argument and recrimination than one of Senator 
Joe McCarthy's investigations. How, for instance, can 
one of today's specialists be accurately compared with the 
all-round football players of a decade and more ago? 
Sure, Otto Graham is a great quarterback, but how would 
he have stacked up with "Dutch" Clark or Cecil Isbell, for 
example, if he'd been forced to play both on offense and 
defense? Could Elroy Hirsch or Tom Fears have carried 
on for sixty minutes like Bill Hewitt or Guy Chamberlain 
or Wayne Millner? 

It would be unfair to deny Sammy Baugh a place, 
because unquestionably he was the greatest passer in 
football history and one of the most durable. The free- 
substitution rule added many years to his amazing career, 
but Sammy was tops even when he had to play on defense 
and do the punting as well as the passing. Sid Luckman 
belongs in a niche right alongside "Slingin' Sam," for it 
was Sid who set the pattern from which all modern 
T-formation quarterbacks are molded. And "Dutch" Clark, 
who did everything superbly well. 

Now that I'm into this, I may as well stick my neck 
all the way out and select a squad. 

Fullbacks? Who could find three more desirable than 
Bronko Nagurski, Ernie Nevers, and Clarke Hinkle? The 
mighty "Bronk" could help out in the line if need be, he 
was that versatile. 

Along with Grange and Thorpe as the halfbacks you 
could pick and choose without going far wrong. I'd take 


Johnny Blood for what he could do when the mood was 
upon him and for the fun he'd have doing it. George 
McAfee, until he was slowed by injury and the years he 
lost in military service, was the most elusive runner I 
ever saw. He belongs. So does "Paddy" Driscoll. That 
leaves one spot open on a three-deep line-up. It could be 
filled by Steve Van Buren, Bill Dudley, Cliff Battles, or 
"Tuffy" Leemans. I'd take Battles. 

Don Hutson practically rewrote the record books, so 
there can be no argument about his right to top considera 
tion at end. Old-timers like George Halas and Steve 
Owen rate Guy Chamberlain as Hutson's running mate, 
and Td string along with their judgment, but right at his 
elbow must be Bill Hewitt, the old "off-side kid" who 
loved the game of football and whose performance re 
flected that devotion. "Lavvie" Dilweg and Ray Flaherty 
would gladden the heart of any coach, and, for that mat 
ter, so would Mai Kutner, for the ex-Cardinal would be 
as valuable on pass defense as he would be catching 
passes on offense. 

Against tackles like Joe Stydahar, Cal Hubbard, Ed 
Healy, "Link" Lyman, "Turk" Edwards, and Stan Mauldin 
no running attack would get far, and no defensive line 
would be impregnable to their charge. Among the guards, 
those forgotten men of football, I'd take "Mike" Michalske, 
"Hunk" Anderson, Danny Fortmann, "Ox" Emerson, Riley 
Matheson, and Len Younce. 

Three centers stand out over the years stolid Mel 
Hein, sturdy "Bulldog" Turner, and mercurial George 

No team, not even an all-star one, would be complete 
without a coaching staff, so I'd have Halas as head coach, 



with Owen to plot the defenses, and Paul Brown to assist 
on offense. 

Aside from the coaches I have named, not one is still 
active in pro football. Unquestionably several of today's 
greats merit consideration. But the point is this there 
should be a Hall of Fame toward which they could strive. 

It would be too much to expect those fans who have 
followed professional football through the years to agree 
to all the candidates I have proposed as members of the 
Hall of Fame. I hope only that they agree with the idea 
itself. And in THE STORY OF PRO FOOTBALL that follows I 
think they'll find out why I selected as I did. There might 
even be a few who will be in complete agreement 
with me! 






ANY PLAY perfectly executed is a touchdown. That's a 
truth which has been acknowledged by players, coaches, 
and just plain fans ever since football began its erratic 
flight across the sports map of America. Knute Rockne 
preached this gospel. So did A. A. Stagg, Bob Zuppke, 
Gil Dobie, "Pop" Warner, and Walter Camp, who started 
the All-American craze. 

Unhappily or from the standpoint of the spectators, 
perhaps fortunately perfection is as rare in football as 
it is in any other form of human endeavor. Only once in 
history has a football team attained perfection, or near 
perfection, for an entire game. And as might be expected 
that team was a professional one the Chicago Bears. 

Yet only a trifle more than thirty years ago the very 
idea that anything good, let alone perfect, could be found 
in professional football would have been considered fan 
tastic. The colleges, where the amateur game was flourish 
ing, looked on the pros with misgiving, mistrust, and 
alarm. And not entirely without cause. There was little 



rhyme or reason to the pros. Their league was a loosely 
knit organization of fly-by-night teams with players jump 
ing from one to another from Sunday to Sunday, depend 
ing on which one offered the most flattering financial 
inducement, College players and even college coaches 
stole away from the campuses to pick up a few pro dol 
lars on a Sunday. College leaders considered the pros so 
real a peril that in January, 1921, a Chicago paper em 
blazoned the headline: STAGG SAYS CONFERENCE WILL 

So radically have things changed in the brief years 
that tell our story that Stagg, once its most implacable 
foe, admitted readily at a banquet not long ago that he 
liked the professional sport and that it had contributed 
much to the development of the game of football. The 
ragamuffin from the wrong side of the tracks has been 
accepted by the sport's social leaders. And most of them 
were won over by the impact of that one hour of perfec 
tion enjoyed by the Bears on the bright, sunny afternoon 
of December 8, 1940, at Griffith Stadium, in the nation's 

The 36,034 fortunate fans who filled the stadium that 
day could scarcely believe what their eyes beheld. They 
even mistrust their memories. For that day the Bears de 
feated the Washington Redskins, one of the truly fine 
football teams of history, by the utterly fantastic score of 
73-0! And this, mind you, in the play-off game for the 
championship of professional football! 

So far-reaching were the repercussions of this day's 
happenings that by the start of the next season nearly 
every team in the land, both college and pro, had adopted 
the Bears* T-formation with man in motion. Yet, had it 


not been for the Bears and their coach, George Halas, the 
T-formation might well have gone the way of the "dodo" 
and the "great auk/* For at a time when other teams were 
exploiting the single-wing and double-wing formations, 
the Bears alone stuck with the "antiquated" T-formation 
and explored and refined its multiple advantages as an 
offensive weapon. 

In light of the effect of this one game on the course of 
football it would be well to delve more deeply into it and 
to study its cast of characters. 

The Bears, who had completed the regular season 
with a record of eight victories and three defeats, were 
Just beginning to realize their full power and, but for 
World War II, might have become one of the greatest, if 
not the greatest, teams of all time. 

Said Jimmy Conzelman, then coach of the Chicago 
Cardinals: "Halas never had so many good players at 
one time. Td take his third team and guarantee to finish 
second in the league. I'd say I'd finish first, only Halas 
would have the other gang." 

Directing the team was Sid Luckman, the shrewd, 
skilled ball handler and passer who set the pattern for 
T-formation quarterbacks. It takes fine quarterbacks and 
powerful fullbacks to make the T its potent best and the 
Bears had three fullbacks Bill Osmanski of Holy Cross, 
Joe Maniaci of Fordham, and Gary Famiglietti of Boston 

Steve Owen, veteran coach of the New York Giants, 
had vast admiration for this thundering threesome. "You 
get Osmanski out of there and what do you get?" he'd say. 
"You get Maniaci. And you get Maniaci out of there and 
what do you get? Famiglietti. And if you think he's any 



bargain, you should try to stop him. H runs like Bronko 
Nagurski! He knocks your teeth out." 

The Bear halfbacks included Ray Nolting, a veteran 
with explosive speed on quick-opening plays; rugged 
Harry Clark; slender Ray McLean; and a will-o'-the-wisp 
named George McAfee, a rookie from Duke who already 
had earned the nickname "One Play" because that's all 
he needed to break up a ball game. Lanky Ken Kava- 
naugh, who ran like a scared antelope, was at one end, 
sturdy George Wilson at the other. And the line con 
tained such rugged giants as Danny Fortmann, Joe Sty- 
dahar, Lee Artoe, George Musso, and Clyde "Bulldog" 
Turner each of whom won All-League honors at various 
times. The "Bulldog," then in his freshman year as a pro, 
was so indestructible that, after "retiring" as a center in 
1951, he returned a year later to win a starting assign 
ment at offensive right tackle. 

Such were the Bears of 1940. The Redskins were 
almost as fearsome a lot. They were led by Sammy Baugl), 
the greatest forward passer of them all, who retired in 
December, 1952, after sixteen years of record-shattering 
brilliance in the National Football League, Their roster 
included fellows like Dick Todd, Andy Farkas, Wilbur 
Moore, Frank Filchock, "Wee Willie" Wilkin, Steve Sli- 
vinski, and Charley Malone. They were coached by Ray 
Flaherty, who already had led them to one title. 

The Redskins were good: so good that they had 
beaten the Bears., 7-3, three weeks earlier. Yet oddly 
enough these very happenings made it possible for the 
Bears to rearrange those digits in the championship game. 
They did it with a combination of inspiration and per 
spiration, strategy and psychology, labor and luck. 



The Bears felt they should have won the first game, 
and they probably would have, had not time run out on 
them. Forty seconds remained to play in the contest 
when, in the huddle, Bob Snyder, who was at quarter 
back, thought up a play on the spur of the moment. 

"Head for the goal line," he told McAfee, "and 111 hit 
you with the football." 

He did. But Todd tackled McAfee from behind and 
brought him down after a gain of 49 yards. The Bears 
were only 1 yard short of the Washington goal line, but 
there wasn't enough time remaining to attempt a play 
unless time was called, and a time-out entailed a penalty 
of 5 yards. The Bears already had been charged with four 
time-outs, the legal limit, so that even though McAfee 
smartly feigned injury on the play, the Bears had no 
choice other than to take an assessment of 5 costly yards. 

From the 6-yard line Snyder threw a pass incom 
plete. He fired another that bounced off Osmanski's chest 
just as the final gun sounded. It mattered not that Os- 
manski frantically claimed interference, maintaining 
Filchock had pinioned his arms so that he had no chance 
to catch the ball. That is, it mattered not except that the 
Redskins promptly dubbed the Bears "crybabies," a term 
that, unfortunately for the 'Skins, was headlined in Wash 
ington papers. 

It made the Bears mad. So did some remarks by 
George Preston Marshall, the Redskins' owner, who classi 
fied the Bears as a "first-half ball club," inferring they 
lacked courage in the clutch. That wasn't the only un 
fortunate remark Marshall made, for on the eve of the 
title game he was heard to say that "the trouble with the 
league is that the strength is concentrated in the East!" 



Halas was not one to let these disparagements of his 
players' intestinal fortitude go unnoticed. He clipped 
them from the newspapers and pasted them on the bul 
letin board in the Bears' clubhouse in Chicago's Wrigley 
Field. He kept prodding the team with his psychological 
needle throughout the week preceding the championship 
game. Meanwhile the physical preparation was progress 
ing according to a most meticulous plan. 

Halas and his assistants Heartley "Hunk" Anderson, 
Luke Johnsos, and "Paddy" Driscoll pored over movies 
of earlier games against the 'Skins. They probed for weak 
nesses in the Washington defense, they discovered which 
of their own plays had been most effective against the 
Redskins, and they set their own defenses to harass 
Baugh to the fullest extent. They decided the best way 
to stop Sammy was to keep control of the ball so that he'd 
have only a limited opportunity to throw it. This cam 
paign to shackle Baugh was to pay off richly inasmuch 
as die Redskins' running attack was to be slowed by inju 
ries to Todd, Moore, and Farkas. 

The players saw the movies over and over again, 
watching their own mistakes and studying those of their 
opponents. They spent many more hours with films and 
chalk-talks than they did on the practice field. They 
plotted their first four offensive plays to test Washing 
ton's defense. They figured it would be the same the 
'Skins had employed so successfully in fashioning their 
7-3 victory, and they figured correctly. 

"There was a feeling of tension on the club," Luckman 
recalls, "like nothing I ever experienced before or since. 
You felt something tremendous was about to happen." 

Luckman and his fellow quarterbacks, Bernie Master- 



son, Snyder, and "Solly" Sherman, had spent the week with 
Clark Shaughnessy, the football theorist who along with 
Halas and Ralph Jones had brought the T-formation to its 
explosive peak. Shaughnessy, whose Stanford team had 
won the Pacific Coast Conference championship, was 
brought in especially to groom the offense. Actually his 
contribution went far beyond that. "Bulldog" Turner 
credits him with the amazing events that were to come. 

"We were a pretty tense bunch of ball players in the 
dressing room before the kickoff," Turner relates. "It 
was Shaughnessy who relieved that tension. He made 
the pre-game talk and you've never seen anyone so calm. 

" 'You can beat these Redskins/ he told us. 'And here's 
how/ He outlined a play we had charted as our second 
of the game. It will beat them/ he said. It might go for 
a touchdown the first time/ 

"Somehow, we believed him. We went out on the field 
relaxed. We felt sure of ourselves and of victory/' 

The Bears won the toss and elected to receive. Molt 
ing gathered in the kickoff and returned 22 yards from 
his 2-yard line. Now came the first charted play. Kava- 
naugh spread out 15 yards from his left end position. The 
Redskin right half followed him. Nolting, the left half, 
went in motion to the right. The Washington linebacker 
trailed him. Right then the Bears knew all they needed 
to know the Redskins were employing the same defense 
as before. 

Nolting shot inside his left tackle for 8 yards. It was 
second down, 2 to go on the Bears' 32. In the huddle 
Luckman called for the play Shaughnessy had said would 
work. It did, in spectacular fashion, although not quite 
according to the chart. 



McAfee, die right half, went in motion and Luckman, 
making a reverse pivot, handed off the ball to Osmanski. 
The play called for Bill to make a direct drive off tackle, 
and he started that way, but McAfee's block hadn't quite 
removed the Redskins' right end, so Osmanski made a 
dip past his outstretched arms and swept wide around 
his left end. Kavanaugh had gone downfield to block one 
defensive back. Musso had pulled out to flatten the up- 
man in the secondary, and George Wilson, burly right 
end, was steaming across the field behind the Redskin 

Near the Washington 35-yard line Osmanski, doing 
a tightrope sprint along the side line, was being crowded 
dangerously by Ed "Chug" Justice and Jimmy Johnston, 
who were closing in to make the tackle. Just when it 
seemed they would force Osmanski out of bounds, Wilson, 
who had run completely across the field, hurtled in front 
of them. Both went down as though poleaxed, tumbling 
completely out of the field of play. 

"That," said Halas later, "was the greatest, most vicious 
block I ever saw." His path cleared, Osmanski continued 
on a 68-yard run to a touchdown. Jack Manders kicked 
the point and the Bears led, 7-0, after fifty-five seconds. 

There was an aftermath to Osmanski's dash that shook 
Wilson even more than his monumental block. Osmanski 
shared a taxi with George and Mrs. Wilson returning to 
the hotel after the game, and in the course of the ride 
Mrs. Wilson congratulated Bill on his magnificent run. 

"And that was quite a block that enabled you to go all 
the way/' she added. "By the way who threw it?" 

George Wilson's reaction to that remark has never 
been recorded. 



But to return to the game the Bears kicked off to 
Max Krause, the only Redskin running back who was in 
perfect physical condition. He proved it by returning 62 
yards, but when he was tackled on the Bear 32-yard line, 
he injured his knee so severely he was through, not only 
for the day but for all time. He never played football 
again. And the Redskins, thus shorn of their running 
attack, never had a chance after Malone dropped Baugh's 
pass in the end zone. The Bears deployed to stop Baugh. 
They did so and that was all they had to do to stop the 

After that pass to Malone went astray, Bob Masterson 
attempted a field goal that was wide, and the Bears took 
over the ball on their 20. True to their plan of controlling 
the ball, they held it for seventeen consecutive running 
plays, Luckman scoring a touchdown on a quarterback 
sneak to climax a drive of 80 yards. Snyder kicked the 
extra point. 

Baugh immediately took to the air in a desperate at 
tempt to pitch the Redskins back into contention, but he 
was hurried and three passes went wide. Luckman then 
brought the punt back to the Redskins' 42-yard line. 
From there, on a play almost identical to the one that 
had sprung Osmanski into the clear, Luckman tossed a 
shovel pass to Maniaci, who ran for touchdown number 
three. This time Phil Martinovich kicked the point. It 
was 28-0 at half time as Luckman passed 30 yards to 
Kavanaugh, who made a leaping catch in the end zone 
after eluding Farkas and Filchock. 

The Bears had proved themselves to be, as Marshall 
had said, a "first-half ball club." The job now, Halas 
reminded them in the clubhouse, was to prove they also 



were a second-half team. They obeyed instructions almost 
to the point of cruelty. 

On the second play of the third quarter Baugh at 
tempted a short pass from deep in his own territory. 
Hamp Pool, the Bear end who became head coach of 
the Los Angeles Rams, anticipated the play, batted the 
ball into the air, caught it, and jogged 15 yards to a 
touchdown. Before the quarter had ended Nolting had 
run 23 yards for a touchdown, McAfee had scored one on 
a 34-yard sprint after intercepting a pass by Roy Zim 
merman, and even Turner had tallied one by chugging 
21 yards after intercepting another pass. In all, the Bears 
intercepted eight passes that day. 

Clark scampered 44 yards for a score early in the 
fourth period, and Famiglietti bulled 2 yards for another 
following a Redskin fumble which the alert Turner re 
covered. The final touchdown came on a 48-yard thrust 
along the ground with Clark scoring on a plunge of a 
yard. Clark, incidentally, was the only multiple scorer 
of the day as the Bears shared their eleven touchdowns 
among ten men. Six different men added conversion 
points, Maniaci getting one on a pass from Sherman. By 
this time the Bears, at the request of the officials, weren't 
attempting to kick the points for one very good reason 
the supply of footballs was exhausted , . , . and what 
is a football game without a football? 

On each kick for point the ball sailed into the stands 
where an eager customer promptly appropriated it as a 
souvenir. The game ended with the teams employing the 
only ball available a rather battered number designed 
for use by youngsters on playgrounds but hardly suited 
for major-league championship play. 



No account of this historic game would be complete 
without mention of what was seemingly the most ill- 
timed of announcements. It came over the public address 
system at a moment when the score was 54-0. Said the 
voice: "Ladies and gentlemen, season tickets for the 
Redskins' home games next season will go on sale tomor 
row at the Redskins' ticket office." The whoop that 
greeted this announcement was an hysterical hodgepodge 
of hilarity and horror. 

"Dutch" Bergman, sports writer, radio commentator, 
and then coach at Catholic University, summed up the 
feelings of the experts when he wrote: "I saw the perfect 
football team in the Bears. I have been associated with 
the game for 25 years as a player and coach but never in 
that time did I see a team that did everything perfectly, 
with such flawless execution, as did the Bears in humbling 
the Redskins." 

Even the Washington fans, in their chagrin and dis 
appointment, apparently agreed. They were so delighted 
with pro football that the Redskins' advance sale for the 
next season set a new record. And throughout the land the 
stampede to the T-formation was on. Professional football, 
after a rough and rugged and poverty-stricken infancy, 
had come of age. 





THE ONE FIRM LINK between the past and the present in 
pro football is Jim Thorpe, the magnificent Indian athlete 
whose career is renowned, even outside sports circles. 
Jim could do everything superlatively. He was a major- 
league baseball player, he was without peer in football 
either in college or in the early rough-and-tumble, catch- 
as-catch-can professional days. He was America's toast 
in 1912 when he won both the pentathlon and decathlon 
in the Olympic games. 

Actually Thorpe was the first president the pro league 
ever had, being elected in 1920 to head the old American 
Professional Football Association, the organization that 
became the National League two years later. 

Steve Owen, veteran coach of the New York Giants, 
like every other boy of the period, set Thorpe up as his 
football idol. It was with considerable trepidation, there 
fore, that Owen faced the husky Indian on the football 
field for the first time in 1923, True, old Jim had lost 
some of his speed and fire and dash by that time, but he 



still was Jim Thorpe and his very presence on the field 
gave an aura of distinction to the game. 

Owen, fresh out of college, was playing tackle for a 
group known as the Oklahoma All Stars, and they were 
meeting the Toledo Maroons. On the first scrimmage play 
Owen bowled over the tackle and end opposing him and 
stormed into the Maroon backfield where he found him 
self face to face with his idol Thorpe. Without hesitat 
ing, Steve continued his headlong charge, shoved a huge 
hand into Thorpe's face, knocked him down, and threw the 
runner for a loss of 5 yards. On the next play Owen 
repeated the tactics with similar results. On his way back 
for the next play he said in an aside to the guard at his 
elbow: "Old Jim has slowed up, I guess. He doesn't care 
for this blocking business any more." 

The ball was snapped and for the third time Steve 
went crashing through exuberantly, ignoring Thorpe 
completely. This, he felt, was going to be murder. It was. 
The entire grandstand seemed to collapse upon him and 
he went thundering down in a heap. Jim Thorpe had 
thrown a block at last. Stunned and shaken, Owen stag 
gered to his feet. As he did so he felt a friendly pat on 
the back and a voice said softly in his ear: "Always keep 
an eye on the old Indian!" 

Once Knute Rockne, the famed Notre Dame coach., 
and his old pal, "Gus" Dorais, were hired to play for Mas- 
sillon against Canton in the days when those two Ohio 
cities were trying to outbid each other for football talent. 
Thorpe was playing for Canton and twice in the early 
stages of the game Rockne, playing at left end, broke 
through to nail Jim for a loss, 

After the second such embarrassment, Thorpe turned 



to Rockne. "Rock," he said, "do you see all those people 
in the stands? They're here to see the old Indian run. 
Now be a good boy, Rock, and let the old Indian run." 

Such a thought was abhorrent to Rockne, who played 
the game to the hilt at all times. He'd stop the great 
Thorpe once more. Or so he thought, until something 
with the power and weight of a truck struck him. He 
rolled over, unsteadily, and looked up just in time to see 
Thorpe crossing the goal line for a touchdown. 

Before the teams lined up for the next kickoff, the 
red man winked solemnly at Rockne. "That's a good boy, 
Rock," he said. "You let the old Indian run." 

Back in 1916 Canton and Massillon met twice. The 
first game ended scoreless, Thorpe being hurt early in 
the fray, and the story got about that he would be unable 
to play in the rematch a couple of weeks later. It has 
been said that Thorpe personally planted this rumor and 
then bet $2,500 on Canton in the second game at better 
odds. Whether or not this is true, Thorpe scored every 
point as Canton won the return match, 23-0. 

"To have Thorpe tackle you from behind was an ex 
perience you couldn't forget," recalls George Halas of the 
Bears. "He wouldn't actually tackle you. With his great 
speed he'd run you down and then throw his huge body 
crosswise into your back. It was like having a redwood 
tree fall on you/' 

During the 1919 season Thorpe got off two punts that 
sailed for 75 yards. Each was caught by "Tuffy" Conn, 
who ran through the entire Canton team until Thoipe 
himself made the tackle. 

Nothing could intimidate the imperturbable Indian. In 
1923 he organized a team composed entirely of Indians, 



They represented the Oorang Kennels in Indiana and 
were known as the Oorang Indians. Among the animals 
at the kennels was a big bear which was kept in a divided 
cage. He'd be kept in one portion of the cage until it 
needed cleaning, then moved to the other side. Later the 
procedure was reversed. 

One week the bear developed a stubborn streak. He 
steadfastly refused to move and no amount of coaxing, 
prodding, or persuasion could budge him. The super 
visor was furious. He summoned Thorpe. 

"Get that bear moved/' he ordered, "or you and all 
your Indians can get out of here. Either that bear moves 
or you do." 

Thorpe wanted the money represented by those foot 
ball games, so he went to work. He cursed, he pleaded, 
he cajoled. The bear refused to move. Then old Jim got 
mad. Peeling off his coat, he strode into the cage. He 
tugged, he grunted, he pushed, and he cursed some more. 
And he also pushed the recalcitrant bear into the other 
cage. Then he came calmly out to pick up his coat, un 
ruffled save for a few scratches and a torn shirt. 

Thorpe was far and away the best of the Indian play 
ers, but there were many good ones in pro football's early 
days. Among them were Joe Guyon, Pete Calac, Mount 
Pleasant, Little Twig, and Big Twig. The latter, a true 
showman, would wear an Indian suit over his uniform 
when running signals for the Buffalo Bisons, and occa 
sionally he'd don it of nights when on the streets of the 
city where the team was playing. 

The first pro football game, insofar as the records 
reveal, was played at Latrobe, Pennsylvania, on August 
31, 1895, sponsored by the local Y.M.C.A., with Latrobe 


defeating Jeannette, 12-0. The sport spread rapidly 
through Pennsylvania, and in 1902 Connie Mack claimed 
the national championship for his Philadelphia Athletics 
with Rube Waddell, the eccentric baseball pitcher, in 
the line-up. 

Mack brought his team to Pittsburgh to play the 
Pittsburgh Pros but found few people knocking at the 
gates. For a time it seemed the game would not go on, 
for Mack insisted on his guarantee in order to pay his 

A distinguished appearing man came up to Mack and 
asked, "What is the delay?" 

"I'm waiting for my guarantee," replied Mack. 

"How much is it?" the man asked. He was told it was 

"Is that all?" he replied. "I'll give you my personal 
check for it." 

"Who are you?" Mack inquired. 

"I'm William Corey, if that means anything to you." 
It didn't, but it should have. Mr. Corey was head of 
the Carnegie Steel Company. The game was played to a 
0-0 tie. 

By 1905 the pro sport had swung westward into Ohio, 
and the Canton Bulldogs and the Massillon Tigers were 
organized. It was ten years, however, before these two 
cities, along with Columbus, Akron, and Dayton, became 
the real cradle of the game. The rivalry among these 
thriving industrial cities crowded into a compact area 
was so intense that each went to great lengths to outbid 
the others for talent. 

Many of the collegiate grid greats picked up a few 
dollars in the early pro days. It was common practice for 



college players, and even coaches, to sneak away from 
the campus to play as a pro on Sunday. 

Once Massillon hired so many players, along with 
Dorais and Rockne, that there were forty-five on the 
bench, each promised $75. Most of them never got into 
the game. On another occasion an entire college team, 
pausing in Cleveland en route from a game, played the 
Columbus Panhandles. The collegians called themselves 
the Cleveland Indians for this day only. 

Lou Little recalls one Saturday when he played in a 
coal mining town in western Pennsylvania. He and his 
teammates were forced to wear their headgears while 
going between the clubhouse and the field, for the hostile 
crowd was pelting them with lumps of coal. In the course 
of the game he injured his leg. He was booked to play 
with the Buffalo team in Buffalo the next day, so sat up 
all night on the train, soaking the leg to reduce the hem 
orrhage and swelling. He felt he couldn't afford to pass 
up the $25 he could earn in Buffalo. 

While Earle "Greasy" Neale was coaching at West Vir 
ginia Wesleyan, his friend John Kellison arranged for him 
to play with Canton. It took a bit of oratory on the part 
of Kellison to persuade Thorpe that Neale would help the 
team. Bill Soucy of Harvard was Canton's left end, but 
Kellison insisted, "Neale can shove one hand in his back 
pocket and catch passes better than Soucy." 

"He's your friend," Thorpe argued. "I only have your 
word for it." 

"If Neale doesn't do a good job," Kellison proposed, 
"keep my salary and use it to pay him." 

That convinced Thorpe, for money talked in those 
days as loudly as it does today. And he was right happy 



about the whole thing, for "Greasy" caught six touch 
down passes in his first game. Neale and Kellison each 
received $75 for the day's work. 

The colleges naturally frowned on the practice of 
their stars and coaches playing for money on the side, so 
Wesleyan dispatched Rev. Richard Aspinall to catch 
Kellison and Neale in the act. The two got wind of the 
trap, however, and stayed at home. 

Asked the next day what he had seen, Rev. Aspinall 
replied: "I saw the best football player I've ever seen 
Jim Thorpe. He won the game all by himself/' 

Thorpe used to assemble his players in a hotel room 
and ask how long each thought he'd be able to play. 
They'd say: "Put me down for a half," or "Make it forty 
minutes, Jim." He'd pay in proportion to the time and 
effort expended. Kellison, who had agreed to play for 
$75, played a particularly brilliant sixty minutes one day 
and, being in a hurry to return home, asked Thorpe to pay 
him off at once. Jim handed him $100. 
"But I agreed to play for $75," Kellison protested. 

Thorpe peeled off still another $25 and gave it to 
him. "You were the best damn player on the field," he 
said, forcing the entire $125 upon Kellison. 

About this time "Kell" made the acquaintance of the 
fabulous Nesser brothers. He was holding the opposing 
end, so he couldn't get downfield for passes, and Fred 
Nesser became so aroused, he muttered: "Til kill you 
when the game's over." 

At the final gun Nesser rushed at "Kell," and he was 
preparing to defend himself when Nesser thrust out a 
hand. "Put 'er there, kid," he said. 'That's the way to 
play the game!" 



The Nessers formed what is the only football family 
in history. There were seven of them in all six brothers 
and the son of the eldest. Ted, the elder and bald-headed, 
was first a bone-crushing fullback and later, when he had 
lost his speed, a lineman. The others were John, Phil, 
Fred, Frank, Al, and Ray. Al, a fine end, played with 
Cleveland through 1931. 

The Nessers all were boilermakers big, rugged, and 
tremendously strong. All, as their other teammates, were 
employed in the Panhandle division of the Pennsylvania 
Railroad in Columbus, and it was from this affiliation 
that they took the team's nickname, "Panhandles/* and its 
colors of maroon and gold. Legend has it that the father 
of the family served as water boy and the mother laun 
dered and mended the uniforms, or so says Dr. Harry A. 
March in his book, Pro Football, Its "Ups" and "Downs" 

Manager of the Nessers and the Columbus team was 
Joe F. Carr, a smallish, shrewd, and kindly man whose 
vision and foresight led to the formation of the National 
Football League. And one of the primary factors that led 
him and his right-hand man, Jerry Corcoran, to propose 
such an organization was the fact that rival teams would 
"steal" one or more of the Nessers for a tough game by 
offering them more money than they were drawing from 
the Panhandles. 

Indeed, no player was bound to a certain team. He 
could move around as he saw fit, landing each week 
where the dollars were most abundant. The Panhandles 
faced Rockne six times in a single season, each time as a 
member of a different team! 

The visiting club, even in the early days of the Na 
tional League itself, usually would be paid in cash, a 


policy that would have tempted some astute holdup man 
were it not for the size and strength of the people in 
volved. George Calhoun, for many years press agent for 
the Packers, recalls how he perspired during one cab 
ride through some of the dark back streets of St. Louis. 
"CaF clutched tightly to a brief case which he believed 
contained the receipts for a night game. But Coach 
"Curly" Lambeau was taking no chances. He had removed 
the money from the brief case and placed it inside the 
headgears of the players, who were still in uniform. 

George Trafton, the colorful old center of the Bears, 
always seemed to get into trouble in Rock Island. After 
one game in which he was accused of putting a couple 
of rivals out of commission for the day, he was pursued 
from the field after the game by a group of irate citizens 
who pelted him with rocks. A year later when the Bears 
played in Rock Island, their share of the gate was some 
$7,000. Coach George Halas handed the money to Trafton 
to carry, 

"I knew," Halas explained, "that if trouble came fd 
be running only for the $7,000. Trafton would be running 
for his life!" 






PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL'S first formal organization had its 
inception at a meeting in Akron on August 20, 1920, pre 
sided over by Frank Nied and A. F. Ranney. Plans were 
formulated for an association, and it was agreed that no 
club should sign a player still attending college or dicker 
with any player attached to another pro team. 

A month later, on September 17, a larger group met 
in the garage of Ralph Hay in Canton and formed the 
American Professional Football Association with Jim 
Thorpe as president, Stan Cofall as vice president, and 
Ranney as secretary-treasurer. The membership fee was 
set at $100 and the clubs represented were the Canton 
Bulldogs, Cleveland Indians, Dayton Triangles, Akron 
Professionals, Massillon Tigers, Racine Cardinals, Ham 
mond, Rochester, Rock Island, Muncie, and the Staley 
A.C. of Decatur, Illinois. 

A year later the group was reorganized with Joe E. 
Carr as president, and each club was assessed $25 to 
cover the miscellaneous expenses of the association. In 



June, 1922, on a motion by George Halas, the name was 
changed to the National Football League, but many years 
were to elapse before it became truly national. 

In Joe Carr the league had a leader dedicated to a 
cause even though his yearly salary was a mere $1,000. He 
brought about the adoption of a standard player contract 
patterned after the one used in professional baseball; he 
established and, defended territorial rights for the in 
dividual clubs; and he campaigned earnestly to interest 
financially independent businessmen to acquire fran 
chises, thus giving the game a stability it had lacked since 
the first football was kicked for money. 

Carr's interests extended to baseball, too, and as 
promotional director of baseball during the depression 
when the number of minor leagues had dwindled to nine, 
his industry and organizational genius rekindled tremen 
dous interest. After he had succeeded in making the 
minors a thriving concern again, Branch Rickey told him: 
"If you'll give up football, 111 make you the biggest man 
in baseball" Carr shook his head. "If that's the price I'd 
have to pay," he replied, Til have no part of it." 

The colleges looked with increased disfavor at the 
pros after "Red" Grange had jumped from the University 
of Illinois to the Bears in 1925 after completing his col 
legiate eligibility, so Carr set about healing the breach. 
At a meeting held in Detroit in February of 1926, almost 
before Grange had ended his gold-rush exhibition tour, 
the National League made its peace with the colleges by 
adopting a resolution, It read: 

The National Football League places itself on 
record as unalterably opposed to any encroach- 



ment upon college football and hereby pledges its 
hearty support to college authorities in maintain 
ing and advancing interest in college football and 
in preserving the amateur standing of all college 

We believe there is a public demand for pro 
fessional football . . . . and to the end that this 
league may not jeopardize the amateur standing 
of any college player ; it is the unanimous decision 
of this meeting that every member of the Na 
tional Football League be positively prohibited 
from inducing or attempting to induce any college 
player to engage in professional football until his 
class at college shall have graduated,, and any 
member violating this rule be fined not less than 
one thousand dollars or loss of its franchise., or 

And a year before this forward step, in 1925, pro foot 
ball had been overjoyed by a pat on the back and a word 
of approbation from the Associated Press. This press 
association for the first time began to carry the results 
of all games on its trunk wires because it "felt that the 
National Football League had kept faith with the public 
in all matters/' 

It was in the Can* regime, too, that the playing rules 
were streamlined, the divisional setup established with 
its resultant championship play-off ? and the Ail-Star game 
series arranged. The latter is a pre-season spectacle origi 
nally conceived by Arch Ward, sports editor of the Chi 
cago Tribune, as a feature of the Century of Progress in 
1934, but which has grown in popularity and scope until 



it is football's glamorous annual coming-out party. It 
brings together the champions of the National League and 
a team selected from the ranks of the graduated seniors 
among the previous season's collegiate stars. 

It was the impact of this game on the sports public 
that precipitated much of the latent growth of the pro 
sport. Through it many fans discovered for the first time 
what the pros had to offer, and they developed an interest 
in the collegiate stars who were turning in increasing num 
bers to the pro field following the All-Star game. 

At first the pros took the collegians too lightly. They 
didn't bother to get into top physical condition; they were 
blase and cynical, with a senior's tolerant, amused at 
titude toward a freshman. After a few lickings, however, 
they began to bear down to preserve their prestige. Since 
then, they have held a consistent margin of victory. 

Joe Stydahar and Danny Fortmann, two of the great 
linemen of the Chicago Bears during the late thirties and 
early forties, played side by side on the All-Star team 
against the Detroit Lions in a 7-7 game. Their reaction 
was typical. 

"We were hit hard in that game," Fortmann recalls, 
"but not subjected to the beating we had expected. We 
began to think we had picked a snap in turning profes 
sional. How wrong we were! We found that out in a hurry 
when the Bears met the Lions later in the year. I've never 
seen such a change in a team. The Lions of that day 
would have chased our AH Stars right off the field." 

Joe Carr's firm but benign rule over the National 
League ended on May 20, 1939, and there are many who 
believe he actually worked himself to death. Carl L, 
Storck, who had been named secretary-treasurer under 



Carr back in 1921., succeeded him to the presidency, with 
the task of handling the league's financial affairs passing 
on to Dennis J. Shea, who had been in the theatrical field 
until turning to football at Boston in 1932. 

In 1941 the pros felt the need of a commissioner with 
powers such as those baseball had endowed in Judge 
K. M. Landis. The man selected was Elmer Layden, one 
of Notre Dame's "Four Horsemen/' who had been head 
football coach and athletic director at his Alma Mater. 
He also assumed the office of president of the N.F.L. when 
Storck resigned because of ill health shortly thereafter. 
The councils of the N.F.L. always have been crammed 
with outspoken men, rugged individualists who can battle 
tooth and nail in league sessions without once endanger 
ing their close friendship. Layden thought he sensed 
antagonism from Tim Mara of the New York Giants. 

"You don't like me, do you, Mr. Mara?" he asked. 

"That's nonsense," snapped Mara. "I don't like you and 
I don't dislike you. I just don't know you. But 111 tell you 
this I don't like the way you got your job. 

"And 111 tell you something else. I wouldn't be sur 
prised if the day would come when all the rest of these 
guys will be hollering for your scalp and I'll be the last 
one in your corner/ 7 

That is precisely the way it turned out. Five years later, 
when the matter of the renewal of Laydens contract 
came up, with Ted Collins of Boston leading the opposi 
tion, Mara was Layden's most staunch supporter. At 
length Bert Bell, a pioneer in developing pro football in 
Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, was within one vote of 
selection as commissioner and his supporters cornered 
Mara, seeking his vote. 



"I'm not against Bert/' Mara told them. "I think he 
would make a good commissioner. But I won't vote for 
him unless you all agree to assess each club $2,000 and 
pay Layden another year's salary/' 

That's the way things finally were worked out. 

Layden had mastered the difficult task of guiding the 
league through the war years and had not only kept the 
league intact but managed to maintain a high caliber of 
football and close, keen competition. But even before the 
shooting war was over, Layden found himself embroiled 
in another kind of war. The All America Conference had 
been formed by Arch Ward, and the rival league was 
raiding the N.F.L. ranks with fanciful offers for talent. 

When the A.A.C. began to take shape, Layden advised 
it to "first get a football/' a remark that was to haunt 
him when his own club owners began to feel the pinch 
on their pocketbooks occasioned by the riotous counter- 
bidding for players. 

The A.A.C. was the second major threat to the well- 
being of the old established league. Back in 1926 C. C. 
Pyle, with the great "Red" Grange under contract as his 
gate attraction, established a new league with "Big Bill" 
Edwards, the old Princeton star, as its president. Pyle 
himself held the New York franchise and the Bulls were 
set up in Chicago as a rival to the Bears and Cardinals. 
The public, however, wasn't ready for such a heavy diet 
of pro football and the league disbanded after one season. 

The All America Conference was a more sturdy and 
determined foe. Its club owners were men of independent 
means and they were willing to spend money. For four 
years they waged a determined battle a costly one for 
both factions but a veritable gold mine for the players, 



who drew fantastic wages as each league stubbornly 
refused to let the other collar the "name" performers. 

Bell's first decision when he became commissioner in 
1946 was one of his toughest. It involved two pro players 
and a gambling incident at the championship play-off 
game of the season. Bell suspended indefinitely both 
players and promptly launched a vigorous campaign for 
stronger federal and state laws to combat gambling and 
to set up sharp punishment for attempts to "fix" sports 

Once Bell spotted a gambler who had been circulating 
rumors that a N.F.L. game was fixed. He pursued the man 
into a restaurant and backed him against a wall, de 
manding the source of the rumors. Thoroughly cowed, 
the man admitted the story was a hoax by means of which 
he hoped to improve the odds. 

Peace between the National League and the All 
American Conference came only nine days after the 
representatives of the latter first approached Bell on 
November 30, 1949. Negotiations were conducted so 
quietly that Bell left the meeting in order, to make his 
weekly appearance at a press luncheon given by the 
Philadelphia Eagles. He explained that if he failed to ap 
pear, newspapermen would become suspicious and come 
to his office to see what was up. 

In reorganizing the two leagues into one, only three 
of the AA.C. teams were retained San Francisco, Cleve 
land, and Baltimore. Financial troubles forced Baltimore 
to drop out after one season, but another group of backers 
restored the city to the National League ranks for 1953 
after Dallas had failed completely to make a go of the 
pro game in 1952. 



One of the first problems confronting Bell in the 
reorganization meeting after peace had been declared 
was the settlement of conflicts over rights to players. 
Baltimore, for instance, had drafted Leon Hart of Notre 
Dame. So had Detroit. The Lions had drafted Doak 
Walker of Southern Methodist and so had Cleveland. 
Pittsburgh and Cleveland both claimed Lynn Chandnois 
of Michigan State. 

The only case decided at the full meeting was that of 
Hart, who was awarded to Detroit. Bell personally solved 
all other conflicts. He ordered all teams to keep the 
thirty-three players they had on their rosters at the end 
of the 1949 season. These no other team could touch. 
Each team could keep three additional players on its 
reserve list, but all others were tossed into a common 
pool for reselection. Where there were conflicts, the teams 
were to dicker with each other, and if no agreement could 
be reached, a coin would be tossed to determine which 
team was awarded the player in question. 

For two days arguments raged over the proper align 
ment of the thirteen teams into divisions for schedule 
purposes. At length Bell's patience wore thin. He banged 
his gavel. 

"Gentlemen," he said, "I am going to settle this for 

The owners hastily asked for fifteen minutes to con 
sider the matter. As they huddled, Halas outlined a 
proposition and moved its adoption, Mara seconded, and 
it was adopted by a 12-1 vote. 

Peace, it was wonderful. 



Lou KOLLS, huge center who played with the Rock 
Island Independents before he became a major-league 
baseball umpire, carried on an implacable feud with 
George Trafton of the Bears. The officials blithely ignored 
their slugging, holding, and fighting. 

"We figured we might as well let 'em kill each other," 
laughs Norman "Bobie" Cahn in recollection. "If we 
didn't, we'd have been calling double fouls all day any 

Cahn, who stood only 5'1&" and weighed but 137 
pounds wringing wet, was one of the ablest of a group 
of colorful, tolerant, capable officials who steered pro 
football through its early, turbulent days. In his white 
knickers and black stockings "Bobie" looked like a little 
boy who had wandered by mistake onto the field with 
grown men. But coupled with the physique of a mouse, 
he had the courage of a lion. He'd dive headlong into the 
pile-ups of struggling giants to retrieve the ball, and he 
was always the big boss on the field. Also, like most of 



his contemporary whistle-tooters, he had a sense of humor 
that saw him through some rough situations. 

Once, in a game at Green Bay, Cahn found occasion 
to read the riot act to a big tackle of the Bears. Leaning 
back like a tourist looking up at the Empire State Building, 
Cahn was shaking an admonitory finger when Gal Hub- 
bard of the Packers lifted him bodily and held him aloft 
until his face was level with the tackle's. 

"Now talk to the guy," said Gal. 

"That made me feel a bit ridiculous," Cahn says, "but 
when Hubbard dropped me on my head that was down 
right embarrassing!" 

Hubbard, he maintains, knew the rules better than any 
player he encountered in twenty-three years as a pro 
official. "He was my salvation more than once," says Cahn, 
"in breaking up arguments. But I can't say I enjoyed the 
way he'd do it. He'd come up and say: 'All right, fellows, 
let's break it up. The little boy is right. Let's play foot 

"Bobie" took particular delight in silencing the outcries 
of George Halas. In a game at Detroit, Halas and "Potsy" 
Clark, the Lions' coach, were following the teams up 
and down the field, attempting to hide behind the light 
towers while shouting instructions to their squads. Finally 
Cahn called time-out and waved his arms, summoning 
Halas and Clark from hiding and into the middle of the 

"Dr. Livingston," he said, "meet Mr. Stanley. And now 
get the hell off the field and back to the bench. From now 
on you get fifteen yards every time you move I" 

On another occasion Cahn strode right past Halas 
while pacing off a penalty against the Bears. George, 



deeply moved, shouted: "Cahn, you stink!" "Bobie" kept 
right on going for an additional 15 yards, then turned. 
"How," he shot back, "do I smell from here?" 

Jim Durfee, who antedated Cahn as a pro official, 
liked the games to move smoothly with a minimum of 
argument or penalty, and he liked close games. Frequently 
if one team was hopelessly behind, he'd edge his way 
into its huddle and suggest plays that might work and 
help make the game a contest. 

When Cahn was first breaking into the league, he 
served as umpire in a game in which Durfee was referee. 
"Bobie" spotted a flagrant bit of holding, blew his whistle, 
and, pointing to the spot of the foul, called out: "Right 
here, Mr. Referee. Holding, right here." 

Durfee strolled over and threw a friendly arm around 
his shoulder. "Young man," he said, "we're working a 
perfect game today. There will be no fouls." 

If Durfee was endowed with too much enthusiasm, he 
also had a stubborn streak. When he made a decision, he 
stood by it. Not even the Supreme Court could have 
made him change his mind. 

One day a wave of Giants broke through to smother 
a Pittsburgh passer just as he was about to throw the ball, 
which dropped in a tiny arc over the shoulder of the 
Giant end who hit him first. Durfee ruled it an incom- 
pleted pass, whereupon Steve Owen, the Giants' coach, 
stormed out in protest, claiming the Steeler had inten 
tionally grounded the pass and that a penalty should be 
forthcoming. Durfee was firm. 

"I was right on the spot," he told Owen, "and looking 
the man squarely in the eye. I could see plainly that the 
poor kid had no intention of grounding the pass." 



Before a game between the Giants and the Bears, 
Halas called Durfee's attention to a play he had dia 
grammed on a piece of paper. 

"I want you to watch for this screen pass of the Giants," 
Halas said. "It is absolutely illegal/' 

Durfee, Halas, Owen, and the other officials bent to 
study the diagram. Then up spoke Owen. 

"He's got it all wrong, Mr. Durfee. Besides, you are 
smart enough to call an illegal pass if you see one!" 

Durfee beamed. "You're damned right I am, Steve. 
Get off the field, Halas!" 

That afternoon the Giants used the illegal play several 
times for good gains. 

Milan Creighton, coach of the Cardinals, once raced 
onto the field to protest a penalty. Durfee immediately 
stepped off an additional assessment of 10 yards. 

"What's that for?" Creighton asked. 

"For you coming out on the field," said Durfee. 

"But," protested Creighton, "the penalty for that is 
fifteen yards." 

"True," agreed the imperturbable Durfee, "But you 
aren't worth that much!" 

Durfee was working a Bear game in Wrigley Field 
when one of those multiple fumbles finally wound up in 
the hands of a member of the visiting team who had been 
knocked out of bounds and crawled back in time to 
pounce on the ball. Trafton, never one to miss an argu 
ment, screamed in protest when Durfee ruled it a legal 

"Now, now, Georgia," chided Durfee, "that play is 
specifically covered under rule five, section three, page 
twenty-three. Let's get on with the game." 



Several days later Trafton, out of curiosity, looked 
up Rule 5, Section 3, page 23. It read: 

No player shall wear equipment which, in the 
opinion of the referee, endangers other players, 
and all men must wear on the back and front of 
their jerseys identification numbers. 

Tom Thorpe, another "old-school" official, enjoyed 
rough, vigorous play just as did Durfee and Cahn. He 
also had a talent for modifying existing rules or making 
new ones if nothing else fitted the occasion. 

For instance, a player once complained because an 
opponent held him illegally. "Sorry/' said Thorpe, "I 
didn't see it. Besides, you're strong enough to take care 
of yourself/' 

In another game Thorpe watched one player "work 
over" an opposing lineman until the other could stand it 
no longer and swung a tremendous punch. The original 
troublemaker rushed to the referee's side. 
"Mr. Thorpe," he cried, "did you see him slug me?" 
"Sure did, sonny," replied Thorpe. "And you certainly 
had it coming to you." 

Steve Owen was once the recipient of a similar rough 
going-over and swung a left hook in retaliation at a time 
when he thought Thorpe wasn't watching. As they carted 
Steve's foe away, out cold, Thorpe whispered: "Be nice, 
Steve. Be nice!" 

Thorpe was officiating at a game between the Giants 
and Brooklyn, and it was fraught with all the bitterness 
that usually attends meetings between denizens of the 
Polo Grounds and Ebbets Field. The Brooklyn quarter- 



back inquired about the down and was informed by 
Thorpe it was the third down coming up. The Dodgers 
ran a running play which failed to net the necessary 
yardage, then a prolonged debate brought out the fact 
it actually had been fourth down. The Giants claimed 
the ball. 

Thorpe shook his head. "It's Brooklyn's ball, fourth 
down," he said. 

The Giants argued: "But they had their fourth clown. 
You just admitted it." 

"All right, all right," said Thorpe. "Then it's fifth down. 
But fourth, fifth or nineteenth, it still is Brooklyn's ball. 
I'm not going to make a forty-yard gain for your team 
or penalize Brooklyn for a dumb mistake I made. I can 
call both sides offside and throw out that last play. I 
might think up something else to get by. But it's just a 
waste of time to argue, because it is Brooklyn's ball and 
it stays Brooklyn's ball. So let's go, boys!" 

Thorpe was a deeply religious man and couldn't abide 
profanity on the field, or off. He warned one player re 
peatedly for cursing and finally put him out of the game. 

"What rule did I violate?" the player demanded. 

"The Golden Rule, sonny," shot back Thorpe, 
Once while working a Bears' game, Calm was bawled 
out by a player for his language. It was the first year in 
the league for Joe Stydahar, one of the top tackles of all 
time, and "Bobie" dashed over to upbraid him for some 

"What the hell . . . ." he began. 

"See, here, Mr. Referee," Stydahar stopped him in his 
tracks, "I don't curse. And I won't stand for anybody 
cursing me, either. Understand?" 



Until the early forties, sports writers frequently dou 
bled in brass as officials in the National League. Wilfrid 
Smith and Irv Kupcinet of Chicago were among the best 
as was Stan Baumgartner of Philadelphia. Ed Cochrane's 
career was cut short by a knee injury about the time the 
league decided to bar all scribes and to form officiating 
teams that would work together as units from week to 

Credit for the development of die officiating units, 
streamlining of the rules, and speeding up of play is given 
by most pro authorities to a scrawny little man named 
Hugh L. Ray, better known to the sports world as 

"Shorty" Ray was an active official for more than thirty 
years and the only man ever to officiate in three sports 
in the Big Ten football, baseball, and basketball. A 
master of detail, after becoming technical director for 
the National Football League in 1938, he took more than 
300,000 stop-watch observations to bring football to its 
present scientific stage. 

In 1925 Ray organized the American Officials Associa 
tion, conducted rules-interpretation meetings, and forced 
officials to make written reports on each game handled. 
In 1929 the National Federation of State High School 
Athletic Associations, impressed by the Chicago experi 
ment, asked him to write a football code. It became the 
model for all football rulebooks. One of his greatest 
compliments came when the All America Conference was 
being organized. On the table was a copy of Ray's N.F.L. 

He proved that attendance at professional games has 
risen with the improvements in oifense and the inevitable 



increase in touchdowns per game. He also discovered that 
the faster the game is played, the more time it consumes. 
This is not as contradictory as it may sound, because the 
faster you play, the more plays you create; and the more 
situations you develop, the more often the clock is stopped 
by incomplete passes, out-of-bounds kicks or runs, touch 
downs, touchbacks, field goals, and the like. He once 
proved to "Curly" Lambeau that the Packers beat them 
selves in a game against the Bears by "playing too fast." 

He discovered, too, that 51 per cent of a team's of 
fensive plays originate in its own territory and only 5 
per cent between the opponent's 10 and the goal line. 
He found there are more plays in the second quarter than 
in the first, and more in the fourth period than in any of 
the preceding three. 

Undoubtedly his greatest contribution, however, has 
been in forcing officials to master the rules. "Once upon 
a time," Ray says, "officials couldn't score ninety-five on a 
written test even with the rulebook open at their elbow. 
Now they can better ninety-five without the rulebook." 



THE BEARS OF 1941 sometimes called the best football 
team of all time had just defeated their bitter rivals, the 
Green Bay Packers, in a play-off game for the champion 
ship of the Western division of the N.F.L. A reporter 
sought out George Halas, owner and coach of "the 
fabulous Chicago team, and above the hubbub of the 
dressing room inquired what play of the game gave him 
his greatest thrill. 

"That's easy," grinned the happy Halas. "It was Bob 
Snyder's second field goal." 

The reporter cupped his hand and whacked himself 
on the ear, confident this appendage was playing tricks. 
He couldn't have heard aright. Snyder's second place 
kick had made the score 33-7 in favor of the Bears. What 
was the importance of three points at that stage of the 
game? Why should that kick give the coach such a thrill? 

"Because," replied Halas, "it meant the Packers would 
have to get four touchdowns to beat us. I didn't think 
they could do it." 



At another time, on the practice field, a broad-shoul 
dered young man approached Halas and introduced him 
self as John "Bull" Doehring. "Do you want the best 
passer in football?" he asked. 

Halas nodded. "I want the best of everything," he 

In these two statements is found the key to the driv 
ing force, the indomitable will to win, that has made 
George Halas a dominant figure in the development of pro 
football and his Bears the most consistently successful, 
over a period of years, of the many play-for-pay clubs. 

The Halas imprint is everywhere on pro football. His 
teams have won seven world's championships. He, 
together with Clark Shaughnessy and Ralph Jones, de 
veloped the T-formation with man in motion to such a 
high state of perfection that it became the most popular 
offensive system in football. He was the moving spirit 
behind most of the rules changes that turned pro football 
from a tug-of-war between giants into a wide open, high- 
scoring spectacle. 

His Bears were the first pro team to hold daily practice. 
They were the first to use movies of games for study and 
analysis of their own and opponents' mistakes. They were 
the first team to use a major-league baseball park as their 
home field and the first to use tarpaulins to protect the 
gridiron from the ravages of weather. They were the first 
team to make a barnstorming tour, the first to have the 
field announcer name the ball carrier and yardage gain 
on each play, the first to have a team song. It is called, 
appropriately, "Bear Down, Chicago Bears." 

All this to George Halas is the fruition of a dream. 
The seed from which the dream germinated was planted 



back in 1917 by Bob Zuppke, the famous coach on whose 
University of Illinois teams Halas was a star before en 
listing in the Navy during World War I. At the squad 
banquet at the end of the season "Zup" complained be 
cause he must lose his best players through graduation 
just when they were getting good. 

That made sense to the shrewd young Halas. He was 
just beginning to learn the intricacies of football, and he 
still had the urge to play. If he felt that way, so must a 
lot of players after they left college. By golly, he'd try 
to organize a team when he got out of the Navy. 

Uncle Sam stationed Halas at Great Lakes, where he 
found himself a member of one of the great football 
teams of the time, one which defeated the Mare Island 
Marines in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day, 1919. 
Among these sailors were Jimmy Conzelman, Hugh 
Blacklock, John L. "Paddy" Driscoll, John Lauer, Jerry 
Jones, and Harry Eilson. Some of them set a precedent by 
playing in the Rose Bowl before they had competed in a 
single college game. Nearly all took a fling at the pro game 
within the next few years, thereby giving the sport its 
first tremendous boost in popular favor. 

When released from the Navy, Halas turned his at 
tention first to baseball, demonstrating sufficient skill to 
merit a tryout with the Yankees. The man who helped him 
most in polishing his fielding was "Ping" Bodie, who was 
on his way out as a major leaguer but eager to advise a 
hustling rookie. He taught so well that when the time 
came for the squad to be trimmed for the trip north, 
Bodie was cut and Halas retained. 

"IVe always felt badly about that," George recalls. He 
felt bad physically, too, before the exhibition schedule 



was completed, for after hitting a triple off the great Rube 
Marquard, he injured a leg sliding into third base. Halas 
never fully recovered from that mishap which cost him 
the fine edge of his speed, and after one season at St. 
Paul he turned his back on baseball and thereby gave pro 
football another tremendous shot in the arm. 

A. E. Staley, who owned a corn products company in 
Decatmv Illinois, hired Halas to head the corporation's 
athletic program and to organize a football team. Here 
was the chance to make his dream come true, and he 
leaped at it. While playing on the Staley baseball team 
and supervising the sports program for employees, he 
found time to scour the Midwest for football talent. 

His search brought to Decatur such notables as Burt 
Ingwersen, Hugh Blacklock, George Trafton, Jake Lanum, 
Ed "Dutch" Sternaman, Walter Pearce, Leo Johnson, 
Charley Dressen, Bob Koehler, Guy Chamberlain, and 
others. In September, 1920, Halas sat in on the founding 
of what is now the National Football League, so his new 
team had an organized league in which to play. The 
Staleys were beaten but once, and on a share-the-profits 
basis each player pocketed $1,900 for his season's work. 

The year 1921 brought a business recession that forced 
Staley to curtail his athletic program, so Halas moved the 
football team to Chicago with the help of a $5,000 check 
from Staley advanced on the understanding the team 
would retain the name of his company for the year. In 
making the move Halas took "Dutch" Sternaman as a 
partner, and the two negotiated a deal with William 
Veeck, Sr., then president of the Cubs, for a lease on 
Wrigley Field. 

Those were precarious days, and Halas and Sterna- 



man would make the rounds of the city's newspaper 
offices in the extracurricular role of press agents, trying 
to get some mention of their team in the public print. 

"We were always greeted cordially," Halas recalls. 
"They listened attentively, or at least politely, then tossed 
our written releases into the wastebasket. We hopefully 
looked for some mention every day one of those little 
one-inchers that come in handy to fill out a column. And, 
by golly, did we cheer when we found one!" 

A Halas conversation to this day is punctuated with 
"by golly 's and "I mean's." To those who know George 
best, these expressions are considered stalling devices 
to throw the listener off the track while Halas is choosing 
the exact words he wishes to use to express an idea. 

George never makes a hasty statement and seldom 
gives a meaty answer to a question. Reporters find an 
interview with Halas usually a most unrewarding ex 
perience. They may take elaborate notes on a long con 
versation and then discover to their dismay that George 
actually has said nothing pertinent to their questions. 

Born on Chicago's great West Side, Halas is Bohemian 
by extraction rather than by temperament. He was an 
all-round athlete in prep and college circles, always busy 
in some activity other than in the classroom or on the 
athletic field. He has carried this amazing zeal for work 
into his business life. The proverbial one-armed paper- 
hanger with the itch is a peaceful man compared to Halas. 

His interests today, in addition to his football team, 
include a jewelry and sporting-goods mail-order house 
with a retail outlet near Chicago's famed Loop, a laundry, 
and real estate. Of late he has invested in oil, and new 
wells keep coming in faster than halfbacks looking for a 



contract to sign. "He is," says his old friend and once 
bitter coaching rival, Jim Conzelman, "the nicest rich 
man I know." 

There was a time not so long ago, however, when 
Halas was hard pressed to raise enough money to retain 
his beloved Bears, who still constitute his one overwhelm 
ing interest. That was in the depth of the depression after 
the 1932 season when he had to raise $38,000 to buy out 
Stemaman's interest in the team. Halas rounded up a 
group of financial backers, putting up his own stock as 
collateral, the $38,000 to be paid in a down payment and 
notes maturing in six and twelve months. Four of his 
backers, however, couldn't raise the money for their prom 
ised support. In this crisis Ralph Brizzolara, a lifelong 
friend, Jim McMillen, former Bear guard, and George 
Trafton's mother came to his assistance; but Halas was 
still $5,000 short. Charley Bidwill, who later owned the 
rival Cardinals, arranged a loan for this amount, and the 
Bears were saved for the man who conceived them. 

Because of his knack for turning a buck to his profit, 
there are many tales of Halas* parsimony, largely un 
founded. When Tommy Harmon was being graduated 
from Michigan with a tremendous reputation as an Ail- 
American performer, the Bears drew draft rights to him. 
Harmon, being an astute young man, placed a high price 
on his services, and he and Halas engaged in some long 
bickerings. While they were in progress, someone asked 
Halas if there was a chance Harmon would come to 
terms. "I'm afraid so," said George. 

His players laugh over the tales of woe he can give 
them when they seek more money. Yet they all like him, 
admire him, and would go through hell or high water 



for him; and once a year George invites them all back 
for a huge "Homecoming" party. 

Once the Bears played an unprecedented string of four 
pre-season exhibition games in eight days, by way of 
getting in playing condition. They won them all. Halas 
was so elated he announced in a clubhouse meeting 
that each player would receive a bonus of $300. On hear 
ing this news Gary Famiglietti, fullback, emitted a whoop 
that shook the rafters. Halas beamed. "For this display 
of enthusiasm/' he said, "we'll make it $350." 

When Joe Stydahar came out of the Navy in 1946, 
Halas asked what terms he wanted in his new contract. 

"I'm all washed up," the veteran tackle told him. 'Write 
in whatever you consider the right amount and Til sign." 

The contract Halas submitted to him called for $8,000. 
"That's twice what I ever was paid before," Stydahar 
relates, "but that's the kind of a guy Halas is." 

Perhaps Halas doesn't drive a hard bargain but, like 
Shylock, he demands his pound of flesh. Once a week 
during the regular season, usually on a Wednesday, he 
requires all players to step on the scale in his presence. 
For each Bear he has assigned an appropriate poundage, 
and the Bear must hew to that figure. For each additional 
pound disclosed by the scale, the fee is $100. 

The system of fines Halas has established has netted 
the club treasury a small fortune. The mistake of report 
ing late for practice has cost many a Bear a plaster of $25. 
No excuse stands up. Driscoll, as an assistant coach, 
caught one fine and so did Trafton, who claimed he was 
immune from fines because he "had a piece of the club." 

One night while the team was in New York, Charles 
"Ookie" Miller, former Purdue center, felt the need for a 



bit of recreation. He spent the evening at the Cotton Club 
listening to Cab Galloway's band, but Halas caught him 
returning to the hotel past the curfew hour and forth 
with fined him $100. Miller, on the theory that Halas 
would forgive and forget, played the game of his career 
the next afternoon. He was all over the field, making 
tackles on defense, opening gaping holes on offense. The 
Bears won and "Ookie" was expecting a pat on the back 
when Halas approached him in the clubhouse after the 
game. Instead he received a casual glance. 

"Nice work, Miller/' said George icily. "Guess I'll fine 
you before every game hereafter!" 

"That," says Miller, "was my most unusual day in foot 
ball. It was the only time I ever had to pay good money 
to play in a game!" 

The Bears periodically are forced to pass written 
examinations to be sure they know their assignments on 
their myriad plays. At the first practice after each game 
every player must submit a written report analyzing the 
opposing team's play. One day Joe Maniaci, who was in 
mufti because of injuries, came empty-handed to the 
Tuesday-morning practice. 

"Where's your report?" Halas asked. 

"I didn't make any/' said Joe. "I wasn't in the game." 

"So what?" Halas stormed. "You saw it, didn't you!" 

Halas and the Bears kept the T-formation alive long 
after most football folk considered it outmoded. He kept 
it intact, although employing the single wing at times in 
1934 when he was blessed with the happy combination 
of Bronko Nagurski and Beattie Feathers. With the man- 
in-motion refinements added by Jones and Shaughnessy, 
the Bears and the T revolutionized football with that 73-0 



rout of Washington. But for them, the system would have 

Halas, in his football tactics, as someone once pointed 
out, is like a magician who summons a stooge onto the 
stage, fans out the pack, and asks him to take a card. The 
stooge, of course, forgets that the magician forces him 
to select the card he wants him to choose. 

"George is like that," the man says. "He makes you 
an unconscious stooge. George wants you to set your 
defenses a certain way. At first glance it looks like the 
defense which will stop him, but that's where Halas 
has you fooled. Fix your defense the way he wants you 
to and bingo! you're a dead pigeon. 

"You're like the guy on the stage when the magician 
says, Three of clubs/ You stand there with your mouth 
open and wonder how in hell he did it!" 

Sometimes the Halas strategy backfires. For instance, 
the Bears were the most adroit practitioners of an old 
clock-beating gag of faking injuries. The rules once de 
clared that when an injured player was taken from the 
game, no time-out was charged. The Bears overplayed 
their hand getting around this ruling although contribut 
ing greatly to the art of dramatic acting. 

The Bears' greatest time-stretching achievement came 
in 1938 when in three losing games they lengthened the 
final two minutes a total of six minutes' playing time 
into almost an hour. No fewer than twenty-seven Bears 
were "hurt" in that period. It was Halas himself who 
proposed an amendment outlawing this practice, his 
decision perhaps stemming from the day both Fortmann 
and tackle Del Bjork were stretched out on the field. 
A sub came rushing in for Bjork, who was feigning in- 



jury, but Fortmann, who was actually hurt, had to remain 
in the game! 

Halas overstepped his bounds, also, in the matter of 
engineering trades whereby he obtained the first draft 
choices of other clubs, which he utilized, in turn, for the 
benefit of the Bears. Things reached their climax during 
the winter convention of 1940 when Halas owned the 
Steelers' number-one choice. The Steelers had first choice, 
the Cardinals second. 

Halas asked Coach Jimmy Conzelman if the Cardi 
nals would like to secure the rights to "Jarring John" 
Kimbrough, fullback from Texas A. and M. Conzelman 
admitted he would. "Okay," said Halas, "you take him 
when your turn comes. Ill have the Steelers pick some 
one else for me." 

Through this generous gesture, the Bears obtained 
Norm Standlee, the Stanford giant. And so shocked was 
the rest of the league that a rule was adopted prohibiting 
sale or trade of a team's first two draft choices without 
first obtaining unanimous consent of all clubs, or until 
the player had put in one season with the selecting team. 

The Halas impact on pro football also is reflected 
in the record book. He still holds die mark for the longest 
run with a recovered fumble. The incident took place in 
1923 on a day when Wrigley Field had been transformed 
into a morass by a downpour. Water stood deep on por 
tions of the field, especially that part in which the Bears 
were striving to stave off a scoring drive by Jim Thorpe's 
Oorang Indians. 

The Bears were backed tightly against their own goal 
line, and Thorpe crashed over tackle for what he hoped 
would be a touchdown. Hugh Blacklock, sensing the play, 



met the big Indian head-on, precipitating a fumble. The 
ball popped straight into the arms of Halas on the 2-yard 
line, from where he beat a zigzag course for 98 yards 
and a touchdown, with Thorpe in pursuit all the way. 

Halas had another memorable encounter with an 
Indian a year or two later. The Indian was Joe Guyon, a 
fine halfback. Guyon dropped back to pass, drifting to 
ward the side line as he did so. Halas pursued him, 
determined to rack him up with such violence he would 
cause the Bears no more trouble that day. 

George charged in and took off on a noteworthy dive. 
Guyon, his back turned, seemed a perfect target. But 
Halas had forgotten one thing the old saying you can't 
sneak up on an Indian. Guyon threw the ball, whirled 
around in almost the same motion, and swung a knee so 
that it caught Halas squarely amidships, smashing four 

"What really hurt, though," Halas says, "was the fifteen- 
yard penalty I received for clipping!" 

Halas always has had a knack for molding a pattern 
of play and then fitting his players to it. Some might not 
have been able to play at all for other teams, but with the 
Bears they became stars. Perhaps this can be traced to his 
ability to instill into everyone what he chooses to call "the 
old Bear spirit." 

Once Halas feared the Bears were about to be split 
by internal factions, so he called his men around him 
and read off a list of names. He stood two small groups 
on either side of the clubhouse, then turned to the rest. 
"These," he said, "are the so-and-so's who are breaking 
up your ball club. Are you going to let them do it?" 

That was the genesis of one of the great Bear teams. 



GEORGE HALAS is a firm believer in the old adage: "If you 
can't beat 'em ? join ? em." 

In 1921, after the Staleys had changed their name to 
Bears because they played their home games in the Cubs' 
ball park, Halas found himself playing across the scrim 
mage line from a tackle named Ed Healy, then employed 
by the Rock Island Independents. It occurred to George 
that this might be an ideal time to try out a new type of 
block he had dreamed up, one which involved, he con 
fesses, "just a wee bit of holding." "Dutch" Sternaman 
gained 7 yards on the play and Healy was bellowing: 
"Holding! You were holding me, Halas. Do that again 
and 111 knock your block off." 

The same play was run again with the same result, 
a neat gain by Sternaman. "I was still on my hands and 
knees," says Halas, "when some sixth sense told me to 
duck. I had my face half -averted from Healy, and I un 
consciously leaned farther away. It's a darned good thing 
I did, by golly, for Healy 's fist whizzed past my nose 



so fast it buried itself up to the wrist in the ground." 

The resulting chorus was discordant. Halas was 
screaming, "Slugging! Put him out of the game!" Healy 
was hollering, "Holding! Halas was holding me!" And the 
officials paid not the slightest heed. 

"Right then," Halas admits, "I decided I would much 
rather have Healy on my side than playing against me." 
And having so decided, George set about making the first 
player deal in the history of the league. 

The Rock Island club had completed its schedule 
and Walter Flanagan, its owner, owed Halas $100, so 
the deal was not difficult to negotiate. Flanagan kept his 
$100 and let the Bears have Healy a bargain indeed for 
a man critics still consider the best tackle ever to play. 

Not long thereafter Halas decided it would be advis 
able to have "Paddy" Driscoll on his side, too, inasmuch 
as the ex-Northwestern star's drop-kicking had cost the 
Bears several games. It wasn't until 1926 that he was able 
to accomplish this purchase, however, and when he did 
the price was considerably higher $3,500 to be exact 
but still a bargain. Driscoll to this day is a Bear, serving 
as an assistant coach. 

The master stroke by which Halas and Sternaman 
made the Bears, and pro football, came in 1925 when 
they signed Harold "Red" Grange, the most publicized 
football player of his day or any other. In a twinkling 
the amazing redhead transformed what had been a dis 
mal season for the Bears into a bonanza and brought to 
pro football in the space of a few furious weeks more 
attention than it had received in all history to that time. 

No other football player has come close to equaling 
the feats of Grange, who was known as "Old 77" or "The 



Galloping Ghost" one nickname stemming from the 
uniform number he made as much of a household by 
word as Babe Ruth's "3," the other from the manner in 
which he'd slip, like a wraith, from the arms of would- 
be tacklers. Even in bare statistics his ball-carrying 
achievements are breath-taking. 

In 237 football games Grange gained approximately 
32,820 yards, or more than 6 miles. He carried the ball 
more than 4,000 times for 531 touchdowns and his life 
time average gain was 8.2 yards! 

During his four years at Wheaton (Illinois) High 
School he carried the ball some 1,260 times in 36 games 
for 10,800 yards and 180 touchdowns. In three varsity 
campaigns at the University of Illinois he carried 750 
times for 3,637 yards and 31 touchdowns, while in profes 
sional competition, including exhibition games, he ran 
2,003 times for 18,383 yards and 320 touchdowns. And 
he topped off his career by becoming one of the great 
defensive backs. 

Single-handed, Grange had ravished Michigan and 
devastated Penn, He had run wild against nearly every 
collegiate opponent, and his feats had been cleverly 
exploited by Illinois' veteran publicitor, L. M. "Mike" 
Tobin, By the time "Red" neared his final college game 
against Ohio State, the newspapers were full of specula 
tion as to whether he would turn pro/Some contended 
he should remain at Illinois and spurn the pro dollars as 
something unclean; others argued he should strike while 
the iron was hot and cash in on his reputation as quickly 
and dramatically as possible. While all this furor was tak 
ing place, Grange's destiny was being shaped at a con 
ference in a Chicago hotel room. 



Present in that huddle were Halas and Ed Sterna- 
man representing the Bears, and Charles C. "Cash and 
Carry" Pyle and Frank Zambreno representing Grange. 
The haggling over terms lasted more than twenty-four 
hours with Pyle driving a hard bargain. Grange maintains 
that Pyle is the only man he ever knew who possessed 
greater endurance than Halas. 

"Charley could outlast George," he says, "but it was a 
great match." 

The night after the Ohio State game, Grange sneaked 
down a fire escape of his Columbus hotel to escape the 
newshounds, slipped into a taxi that was waiting for him, 
and boarded a Chicago-bound train in the railroad yards. 
In Chicago he hurried to the Belmont Hotel and reg 
istered under an assumed name, while reporters kept a 
close lookout at the Morrison Hotel, where Pyle was 
quartered. That afternoon he sat on the Bear bench and 
watched his teammates-to-be whip Green Bay. So great 
was his popularity that more than 3,000 fans besieged 
him for autographs until police rescued him. 

On Thanksgiving Day, Grange made his pro debut 
against the Cardinals before a capacity crowd of 36,000 
at Wrigley Field in a game that wound up scoreless. 
Grange, in the safety position, had no opportunity to run 
back punts for the very good reason that the astute Dris- 
coll refused to kick to him. The holiday meeting between 
Chicago's pro teams normally grossed about $14,000. 
Grange's take alone for this meeting was $12,000. By the 
time another fortnight had passed, he and Pyle each had 
pocketed some $50,000, splitting their end down the 
middle, with Pyle paying all promotional expenses out 
of his share. In addition, of course, Grange was reaping 



a handsome reward from testimonials, endorsements, and 
similar side lines. 

In his rush to extract the most from a quick market, 
Pyle nearly killed Grange and the Bears. On the Sunday 
following Thanksgiving, Grange gained 140 yards as the 
Bears beat the Columbus Tigers, 14-13, and although the 
game was played in a snowstorm, the magic of Grange's 
name lured 28,000 customers. That was the start of the 
most strenuous schedule ever attempted by a football 
team eight games in twelve clays! This marathon was 
to prove the ruggedness of these early pros. 

The weather played a trick on the Bears and Grange 
in St. Louis, holding the crowd to 8,000, but the redhead 
rewarded the hardy fans with four touchdown scampers 
against a misfit team recruited for the one game by an 
undertaker named Donnelly. Three days later the Bears 
defeated the Frankford Yellowjackets before 35,000 and 
twenty-four hours later they whipped the Giants, 14-7, 
before 65,000 in the Polo Grounds with "Red" scoring a 
touchdown to make the vast assemblage happy. The 
Frankford game had been played in rain and mud and, 
inasmuch as the Bears had only one set of uniforms, they 
had to face the Giants in cold, wet, clammy jerseys, stock 
ings, and pants. 

Joe Sternaman, clever little quarterback and field goal 
specialist, tackle Don Murry, and end "Duke" Hanny 
played the entire 120 minutes of those two games on 
successive days without relief. After one day of rest they 
were back in action again at Washington, winning 19-0 
despite the fact Grange gained only 6 yards from scrim 
mage. The next day in Boston they lost to the Providence 
Steam Rollers. 



In Pittsburgh on December 10 Grange received a 
kick in the upper left arm and was led from the field after 
carrying the ball once for 3 yards and catching one pass 
for 4 more. The other Bears were battered, too. Johnny 
Mohardt was badly bruised, Laurie Walquist had a broken 
toe, Milt Romney a twisted ankle, "Dutch" Sternaman 
an injured shoulder, Joe Sternaman a lame knee. Ed Healy 
and George Trafton had leg injuries, and Halas himself 
had a boil on his neck. Trainer Andy Lotshaw was busy 
at all hours trying to piece together eleven men to take 
the field the next day. 

In Detroit on December 12 Grange was unable to play 
and most of the fans got refunds on their tickets, for they 
cared only about "Red," not about the Bears. The next 
day the battered Bears returned to Chicago, where 18,000 
welcomed them home as they lost to the Giants 9-0. 
Grange, ignoring the agony in his arm, played as ad 
vertised but could do little. Some of the others couldn't 
play at all, things becoming so desperate that Oscar Knop, 
the fullback, was stationed at one end. 

As soon as the wounded had recovered, the Bears 
added a few extra players and equipped all hands iden 
tically with knickers, loud socks, and sweaters with the 
word "Bears" emblazoned across the chest and the play 
er's uniform number on the back. Then they set off on 
a barnstorming tour that carried them to Florida and 
westward to the Pacific Coast. By the time they re 
turned home, Grange's profits in the short months since 
he had left the Illinois campus had mounted to $100,000. 

Oddly, the injury that deprived Grange of his "super" 
offensive skill and turned him into a defensive specialist 
occurred in 1927 in a game against the Bears while he 



was competing for C. G Pyle's New York Yankees. He 
tripped over Trafton and twisted his right knee so badly 
he was on crutches for six months. 

"That injury ruined my career/' he says. "I never 
could run or cut again. I was just another halfback." 

He wasn't "just another halfback," despite his own 
opinion, for his native football intelligence and shrewd 
ness saved a championship for the Bears in 1933. The 
Bears were leading the Giants in the first play-off in 
N.F.L. history, 23-21, when Harry Newman passed down 
the middle to Dale Burnett for 28 yards on the final play 
of the game. Only Grange stood between Burnett and a 
score; and running only a step behind Burnett was Mel 
Hein. Grange sensed that Burnett intended to flip a lateral 
pass to Hein, so he tackled high and pinioned Burnett's 
arms. The lateral was never thrown. 

One later Bear, who would have reveled in the mara 
thon tour with Grange, was a man who typifies the Bears 
just as thoroughly as Halas and Grange Bronko Nagur- 
ski. The "Bronk" was probably the most amazing and 
durable physical specimen ever to tuck a football under 
one arm and proceed to knock an opponent's brains out. 
"Doc" Spears, who coached him at Minnesota, where he 
won All-American honors at tackle, claims he could have 
been an All American at any of the eleven positions, he 
was so good and so versatile. 

Bronko was the personification of power. He stood 6-2 
and weighed 230 pounds, with tremendous legs which 
possessed speed to match their vast drive. He simply ran 
over opponents. On one afternoon two tacklers got a 
clean shot at him in the open field. Both were carried off 
with broken collarbones. 



"There's only one way to stop him/' declared Steve 
Owen of the Giants. "That is to shoot him before he leaves 
the clubhouse." 

Tackling Nagurski was one of the more certain ways 
of committing suicide. The astute Owen devised the plan 
of having his defensive men throw themselves in front 
of the "Bronk" in a sort of rolling block, the idea being 
merely to trip him up. 

"I find/' said Owen, "we don't lose so many players 
that way." 

Grange loves to recall Nagurski's first game against 
Green Bay. Grange and the "Bronk" were protecting the 
kicker on the right side, with Nagurski the deep man. 
Late in the game Cal Hubbard, mammoth Packer who 
switched between end and tackle in those days, ap 
proached Grange. 

"Next time the Bears kick," said Cal, "let me by. I'll 
guarantee not to block the kick. I just want to get a shot 
at Nagurski. I've been hearing how hard he is and I want 
a crack at him." 

"The next time we punted/' Grange chuckles, "I let 
Hubbard go past me, then turned around to watch. Cal 
hit the 'Bronk' and bounced. He caught up with me as 
we ran down the field. 

" That's enough/ Hubbard muttered. 'He's just as hard 
as they said.'" 

It was the "Bronk" who brought the jump-pass to its 
high point of efficiency when the Bears moved back to 
championship heights in the early thirties for the first 
time since their inaugural campaign in the league. He'd 
start on one of his bull-like charges into the middle, and 
as the line braced to repel him, he'd stop short, jump up, 



and shoot a lob basketball toss over the heap into the 
hands of an end who had come around behind the enemy 
line. If the opposition laid back to guard against a pass, 
Nagurski would rip through for great chunks of yardage. 

In 1937 he successfully combined football and wres 
tling as simultaneous careers with a disregard for physical 
well-being that would have delighted the barnstorming 
Bears of 1925. In one span of three weeks he wrestled 
eight times from Vancouver, British Columbia., to Phila 
delphia, and played in five games with the Bears. He quit 
after that season, but six years later came out of retire 
ment to lead the Bears to another championship. One of 
the Cardinals, after tangling with Bronko in 1943, said: 
"That guy's not thirty-five years old. He's lying. He hits 
just as hard and is just as tough as the Nagurski of ten 
years agol" 

When the Bears and Nagurski got around to winning 
a championship in 1932, however, it was not under the 
leadership of Halas. He had dropped the coaching reins 
after the 1929 season and turned them over to Ralph 
Jones, a little bald-headed man who had been developing 
fine teams at Lake Forest Academy. 

"We thought it best," said Halas, "to get a competent 

Along with the coach the Bears also acquired Bill 
HcwiLt, one of the great ends in history, and a unique 
halfback named John "Bull" Doelmng. Hewitt, a granite- 
chinned, bristly-haired individualist, disdained the protec 
tion aifordcd by a headgear. He played bareheaded until 
ordered by the league to don the customary safety device. 
He had an explosive start that made him the forerunner 
of jet propulsion. 



Sports writers dubbed Hewitt "The Off-side Kid," yet 
officials who worked Bear games of the period insist he 
seldom, if ever, was off-side. His secret was watchfulness 
and timing. He'd line up at his left-end position on 
defense a step or two behind the scrimmage line. He 
learned the habits of each opposing center so he could 
discern, by a tightening of fingers on the ball or some 
other telltale sign, just when the ball was to be snapped. 
With the help of this advance tip-off, he was in motion 
almost before the ball had been snapped. Actually the 
ball was on its way almost at the split second Hewitt 
reached the line of scrimmage. 

To close each practice, the Bears frequently ran a 
play called the "Stinky Special," Hewitt having been 
adorned with the inelegant nickname of "Stinky." On 
this maneuver, Bill would take the ball on an end-around 
play and wind up by throwing a long pass to Luke 
Johnsos, the opposite end. 

No one, least of all Halas, expected the play ever would 
be used in a game, yet the Bears employed it to pull a 
decision out of the fire against the Packers in 1933. Green 
Bay was leading, 7-0, with about two minutes to play, the 
ball in the Bears' possession on the Packer 35. In the 
huddle Carl Brumbaugh, one of the smartest of T quar 
terbacks, called for the end-around, then winked at 
Hewitt and Johnsos. The play caught everyone by sur 
prise, even the Bears, as Hewitt tossed a perfect pass to 
Johnsos in the end zone. A rookie named Jack Manders 
promptly came in to kick the extra point the first of 72 
he was to boot in succession before the wind carried one 
against an upright. 

The Bears then kicked off and held for downs, forcing 



the Packers to punt with seconds remaining. Hewitt 
blocked the kick and pounced on the ball in the end zone 
for victory. 

In the previous year, however, the Bears weren't 
exactly a ball of fire offensively. For five games they didn't 
cross an opponent's goal line and wound up the season 
with a strange record of seven victories, a defeat, and six 
ties! Opponents frequently asked: "Have the Bears any 
offense at all?" 

As things turned out, they had enough to win the 1932 
championship. And they won it in one of the strangest 
games in history, played on a makeshift gridiron in 
the Chicago Stadium where the Bears defeated the Ports 
mouth Spartans, 9-0. Zero weather and a blizzard made 
playing conditions at Wrigley Field impossible and forced 
the game indoors on a field that was only 80 yards long. 

Twice the two teams had played to ties during the 
regular season and for three periods it seemed they were 
destined to play a third, this one scoreless. But then Dick 
Nesbitt intercepted a pass and ran to the Spartans' 7-yard 

From there Nagurski slammed into the line for 6 
yards, only to be stopped cold in his tracks on his next 
two thrusts. On fourth down he faked another plunge, 
straightened, and tossed a little pass to Grange for a 
touchdown. Later the Bears scored 2 more points on 
a safety, but the Spartans never quite forgave them that 
touchdown. They'll argue to this day that Nagurski 
wasn't 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage, as the rules 
required, when he threw his pass. 

At any rate, the rule was amended before another 
season rolled around, making it legal to throw a pass 



from any point behind the line of scrimmage. Pro football 
at last had taken the step that was to revolutionize the 


At about the same time Ralph Jones announced his 
retirement. Halas, who had just secured the financial 
backing to buy out Sternaman and take control of the 
team, said that he would return as coach "for one year 
only" in 1933. He's been on the job ever since except for 
time-out when he returned to the Navy during World 
War II. 



BILL HEWITT'S surprise pass off the end-around play was 
just one of the last-ditch maneuvers by which the Bears 
of 1933 celebrated with a championship the return of 
Halas to the coaching profession. They pulled one deci 
sion after another out of the fire until they were hailed 
as "the storybook Bears." 

Twice more after the Green Bay game Hewitt fell 
back on his pet pass play to save the day, throwing once 
to Luke Johnsos and once to Bill Karr. Jack Manders* 
toe, so deadly accurate on place kicks he became known 
as "Automatic Jack/* saved a couple of decisions, but no 
finish was more dramatic than one provided by Nagurski. 

The Bears were nursing a three-point lead over Ports 
mouth late in the game when the Spartans were forced to 
make a fourth down punt that Keith Molesworth returned 
to mid-field. The game seemed safe, but on the play 
Nagurski was detected holding Harry Ebding, the Spar 
tan end, the penalty being 5 yards and an automatic first 
clown for Portsmouth. On the next play Glen Presnell 



passed to Ernie Caddel for 65 yards and a touchdown. 

Portsmouth kicked off and Nagurski brought the ball 
back to the Bear 45-yard line. In the huddle he said: 
"This is all my fault. Gimme the ball!" 

Brumbaugh gave it to him on a pitchout that sent the 
"Bronk" thundering around his left end. Nagurski simply 
ran over the Spartans, bowling tacklers out of his way as 
he charged through the mud down the side line. By the 
time he reached the goal line and victory his momentum 
was so great he charged right out of the end zone and 
crashed headlong into the brick wall of the dugout. Only 
that could stop him. 

An accumulation of such heroics in 1933 gave the Bears 
the Western championship and sent them against the 
Giants in the first play-off between divisional title holders. 
The game was what a championship one should be, with 
the lead changing hands six times. And once again the 
Bears wrote a storybook ending. The ball was in play on 
the Giants' 32-yard line when Nagurski faked a plunge 
and blooped a short pass to Hewitt. Bill took only two 
or three steps, then shot a lateral to Karr, who ran to a 
touchdown with the help of a vicious block by Gene 
Ronzani, who removed Ken Strong, the last obstacle in 
Karr's path. 

Ronzani, a husky firebrand from Marquette who went 
on to coaching greatness in the league, was one of several 
exceptional "freshmen" in the Bear line-up that day. 
Manders was another. A third was a giant of a man named 
George Musso, who disdained protective pads. 

"I was born with 'em," he grinned. 

"Moose," whom Halas almost released at the season's 
start, remained in the league for a dozen campaigns, 



winning All-League honors both at tackle and guard. Roy 
"Link" Lyman, the other tackle, also won All-League men 
tion, as did both guards, Joe Kopcha and Jules "Zuck" 
Carlson. A backfield work horse was Johnny Sisk, Mar- 
quette's "Big Train" who chugged sturdily for the Bears 
for five years. 

To this array was added, in 1934, Beattie Feathers, 
an elusive halfback from Tennessee, who rode the tail of 
the "Bronk" to a ground-gaining record that fall. With 
Nagurski clearing tacklers from his path, Feathers ran 
for 1,004 yards, although missing all of the last two 
games and most of another because of a shoulder injury 
that cut short his career. His average gain that season 
was 8.5 yards. 

Many Chicago fans still rate that 1934 Bear team as 
the best of all. It surged through the thirteen games of 
the regular season without a defeat but went down in 
the championship play-off to a Giant team it had beaten 
twice earlier. This was the famed "tennis-shoe" game in 
which the New Yorkers donned rubber-soled sneakers to 
shove the Bears around an icy field, and which is told 
in more detail later. 

Typical of the fierce will-to-win of that team was the 
action of Kopcha prior to the game with Detroit. Joe had 
a broken bone in his hand and, although he was in train 
ing as a surgeon and obstetrician, he didn't intend to 
miss so important a clash. Teammates, alerted by a com 
motion in the dining-car galley aboard the train, found 
Kopcha with a huge meat cleaver in his hand preparing 
to chop off the offending cast. "If I can just cut this thing 
down a bit/' he explained, "maybe the trainers can wrap 
a soft bandage around it so I can play." 



At three different times during his career Edgar 
"Eggs" Manske played end for the Bears, but during the 
seasons of ? 35 and '36 he was with the Eagles. In a game 
against the Bears he caught a pass and was streaking 
toward the goal line when he heard the familiar voice 
of Luke Johnsos calling: "Lateral, 'Eggs/ lateral!" 

Momentarily confused by the familiar voice and for 
getting that Johnsos was no longer a teammate, Manske 
flipped the lateral as he had done frequently with the 
Bears. Johnsos caught it and headed in the opposite di 
rection. As he scampered away, the anguished voice of 
Bert Bell, the Eagles' owner, rose above the tumult of 
the crowd. 

"No! No!" screamed Bell. "It isn't fair! It doesn't count! 
Bring it back! It's our ball!" 

That's where Bert was wrong. It was the Bears' ball 
and through this bit of skullduggery they scored a touch 

In die All-Star game of 1936, two of the outstanding 
All Stars were Joe Stydahar of West Virginia and Danny 
Fortmann of Colgate. Both joined the Bears and through 
the years enhanced their reputation as two of die truly 
great linemen. Stydahar was repeatedly an All-League 
tackle before he turned to coaching, Fortmann as con 
sistently an All-League guard before retiring to the prac 
tice of medicine. 

Indeed, it was his interest in medicine that landed 
Fortmann with the Bears. He needed to play pro football 
to finance his medical education, even as Kopcha had 
ahead of him, and Halas arranged a program whereby 
he could attend medical school in Chicago while playing 
with the Bears. 



Bernie Masterson at quarterback had come along in 
1934, and in 1936 lie was joined in the backfield by Ray 
Nolting, an ideal halfback for the T because of his great 
speed and tremendous acceleration. On a quick-opening 
play he could find a hole faster than a scared ground 

All this turnover in personnel added up to a divisional 
title in 1937, when the Bears won nine, lost one, and 
tied one. But again a frozen, icy field proved their un 
doing, and they lost the championship to the Redskins. 
They weren't to scale the heights again until 1940 and 
their afternoon of 73-0 perfection. 

Of the many great Bear players of that era one Sid 
Luckman is deserving of special attention here inasmuch 
as Halas insists he set the pattern for all T-formation 
quarterbacks to follow. 

Sid wasn't a T quarterback when he came to the 
Bears. He had been a left halfback at Columbia as well 
as a fine forward passer. When he first took a look at the 
Bears' library of plays, he shuddered. 

"Migosh," he exclaimed to Johnsos, "those halfbacks 
go through that line all alone. That's the most stupid 
thing I ever saw. Those big linemen will kill 'em. They'll 
be murdered!" 

"Don't worry," Johnsos laughed. "Halas is going to 
make a quarterback out of you. Besides, as fast as those 
halfbacks get killed, well send in new ones for you." 

Luckman found the new role puzzling and exacting. 
As he tried the pivots and the fakes and the handoffs, he 
stumbled, got his feet tangled, and botched things up 
generally. Halas thereupon decided to use him as a half 
back and signal caller in a special Notre Dame box 



backfield until he could master the intricacies of the T. 

That took a little more than a season. He really "ar 
rived" in a game against Green Bay in 1939 at Chicago, 
in which he threw the winning touchdown pass to Bob 

"I was just getting the idea of the T then/' Luckman 
admits, "and I was still learning things about it when I 
quit after the season of 1950." 

He had learned enough, however, to draw this word 
of praise from "Curly" Lambeau, who has seen them all 
in the pro league: "Luckman alone beat the Packers 
more than any one man we ever played against." 

Halas says it takes about three years to develop a 
quarterback under the Bear system. Luckman learned the 
job in one. Not only that, he knew the assignment of 
every man on every play, and there are more than four 
hundred plays in the Bear book. 

In 1943 Sid threw five touchdown passes in the cham 
pionship game for a play-off record that still stands, but 
probably his greatest day was in a 56-7 rout of the 
Giants the same year when he passed for 433 yards and 
seven touchdowns. 

"Strictly luck," Luckman says. "All I could think of 
when the seventh touchdown went in was the day in 
Yankee Stadium when I saw Lou Gehrig hit four home 

Luckman seldom carried the ball in the Halas scheme 
of things. He was so valuable as a passer and signal 
caller that the coach wouldn't risk injury by letting him 
run. Yet it was his only ball-carrying effort in 1946 that 
gave the Bears the last championship they have enjoyed. 

There is a play in the Bear assortment known as 



"Ninety-Seven Bingo, Keep It." Sid had been asking for 
permission to call it, but invariably was told the time 
was not ripe. Finally, in the fourth period of the title 
game with the Giants in the Polo Grounds, the ball in 
the Bears' possession on the New York 19-yard line, Sid 
walked over to the side line. 
"Now?" he asked. 
Halas nodded. "Now!" he said. 

So Sid called, "Ninety-seven bingo, keep it!" After 
faking a handoff to McAfee, who was sweeping to the 
left, he concealed the ball briefly behind his back, then 
scooted to his right around end for a touchdown. No one 
laid a hand upon him on his dash to victory. 

Back in 1941, when Luckman was just reaching his 
peak, he guided what was perhaps the Bears' best back- 
field, one that still contained the elusive McAfee and to 
which had been added Norm Standlee, fullback, and 
Hugh Gallarneau, halfback, from Stanford's champion 
ship team. They rolled up the yardage in such huge 
chunks that they scored 396 points in 11 league games, 
getting 37 of their 56 touchdowns by running. The team 
won ten games and lost one, but the lone defeat 16-14, 
at the hands of the Packers forced them into a divisional 
play-off with their conquerers. 

It was bitterly cold, but a capacity crowd of 43,425 
saw that rematch. There was a moment of misgiving 
when Gallarneau fumbled the opening kickoff and the 
Packers recovered and scored. But Hugh atoned moments 
later by returning a punt for 70 yards and a touchdown to 
set the point-machine in motion. At the half the Bears 
led, 30-7; then won, 33-14. 

The championship game against the Giants was 

George Hctlcts 
End and Owner-Coach 

Bronko Nagurski 


Joe Stydahar 



Danny Fortmann 

Sid Luckman 

Roy "Link" Lyman 

Guy Chambeilain 

Clyde "Bulldog" Turner 

George Trafton 

Heartley "Hunk" Anderson 



Harold "Red" Grange 

Ed Healy 

Bill Hewltl 


strictly an anticlimax insofar as Chicago was concerned, 
and the Bears vindicated the fans' judgment by winning 
easily, 37-9. 

Many of the Bears went into service at the close of 
the season. Among them were McAfee and Standlee, and 
midway of 1942 Halas himself went back into the Navy. 
But the Bear remnants carried on, sweeping through an 
eleven-game schedule unbeaten. However, it seems pre 
ordained that unbeaten Bear teams are not destined to 
win championships, for these Bears, like their counter 
parts of 1934 were upset in the play-offs. This time the 
culprits were the Redskins and the score was 14-6. 

"Hunk" Anderson and Luke Johnsos shared the coach 
ing burden while Halas was in unif orm; and his old pal 
and financial angel, Ralph Brizzolara, ran the business 
end of the team. It was Ralph's oratory that brought 
Bronko Nagurski out of retirement in 1943, and it was 
the "Bronk," in turn, who gave the Bears a championship. 

Bronko came back as a tackle and remained one until 
the final, regularly scheduled game against the Cardinals, 
a game the Bears had to win to take the divisional title. 
The week before the game Anderson asked Nagurski if 
he'd like to play "a little fullback." Would he? Nagurski 
leaped at the chance. 

In the fourth period, with the Cardinals leading, 24- 
14, and time running short, old "Bronk" was summoned 
to take up where he had left off six years before. In no 
time at all he had a touchdown. A bit later the Bears 
found themselves in a fourth-and-four-to-go situation. 
Again in came the "Bronk." Bam! He had the necessary 
4 yards and some to spare. Then Luckman passed to 
Harry Clark for the touchdown that meant victory. 



Nagurski scored the final touchdown of his remarkable 
career a week later when the Bears smashed the Redskins, 
41-21, to win their sixth world title. 

Number seven came in 1946 when "Papa Bear" himself 
was back at the helm. He found some of his old stars 
gone, but he had McAfee back and had added a new 
fullback in Joe Osmanski, Bill's kid brother, and a couple 
of potent tackles, Walt Stickel and Fred Davis. With the 
help of the indestructible Turner, and with Luckman 
and Gallarneau in their usual roles, the Bears won eight 
games, lost two, and tied one, beating the Giants in the 
play-offs, 24-14. 

Since then the Bears have had their share of great 
players Johnny Lujack, George Connor, Ed Sprinkle, 
Ray Bray, John Dottley, Dick Barwegen but something 
has gone from their victory formula. They've come close 
repeatedly but always have lacked the "extra something" 
that was the hallmark of earlier Bear teams. 

In 1952 the Bears were hopelessly out of the running. 
There were rumors of discord and dissension among the 
coaches and even a few demands that Halas himself step 
aside as head coach. George merely shrugged off these 
stories, kept his temper, and promised better days ahead. 
"There's an old saying," he says, "to this effect anger 
doth a bonehead make." 

And no one ever accused George Halas of being a 




THE CLEVELAND BROWNS are pro football's most successful 
team in terms of accomplishments throughout its period 
of existence. So brilliant is its record that fans are prone 
to forget that Cleveland has been part and parcel of the 
pro game almost continuously since football first bur 
geoned into popularity in the smaller industrial cities in 
Ohio. And in the excitement over Paul Brown's coaching 
achievement in leading the Browns to five championships 
in seven years, the fact has been generally overlooked 
that the coach who brought Cleveland its first title back 
in 1924 had a record of four championships in five years. 
All of them, however, weren't for Cleveland. 

His name was Guy Chamberlain and no less an au 
thority than George Halas still rates him the equal of 
any end who ever drew on a cleated shoe. A big man of 
6-2 and 205 pounds, he had the unique distinction of 
being selected on one of Walter Camp's All-American 
teams after he had graduated from the University of Ne 
braska and was playing as a pro. 



"Where is he now?" Camp asked when he was informed 
of his error. He was told Guy was with Canton. 

"Well," Camp shrugged, "wherever he is, he's still a 
great football player/ 7 

Actually Chamberlain figured in one more champion 
ship than the record book reveals. As a player in 1921 
he ran 70 yards to a touchdown with an intercepted pass 
to give the Staleys a victory over Buffalo and the league 

The next year he became coach at Canton and led 
the Bulldogs through two undefeated championship sea 
sons. In 1924 Cleveland, which had enjoyed little success 
since the founding of the league, purchased practically 
the entire Canton team and transported it bodily to the 
shores of Lake Erie; and there another championship 
grew under the leadership of Chamberlain as the Indians 
won seven, lost one, and tied one. Chamberlain's teams 
had lost one game in three years! 

Chamberlain remained only one year at Cleveland, 
which did not give the team the support he felt it de 
served. The next season he transferred to Frankford 
where, in 1926, he led the Yellowjackets to the title with 
fourteen victories and one defeat. 

There was considerable wrangling over the 1924 
championship, for Frankford felt it deserved the title on 
the basis of a record of eleven victories, two defeats, and 
a tie. The matter was settled in a league meeting held in 
January of 1925 when it was decided to award the pen 
nant to Cleveland on the basis of games played before 
and including November 30. This was the first step 
toward correction of the old, misused "elastic" schedule 
which gave a team the opportunity to book an extra 



and not too potent foe in order to improve its record. 

In 1927 Benny Friedman, Michigan's great quarter 
back and passer, was at the helm of the Indians. But 
even with a home-town hero as an attraction the team 
didn't catch the popular favor, and the next year Fried 
man moved to Detroit with Cleveland dropping out of 
the league. It returned for an unhappy season in 1931, 
then disappeared again until 1937. 

The Rams were born on February 13, 1937, when 
Homer Marshman was granted a franchise. He repre 
sented a group of businessmen which included Thomas 
Lipscombe, Dan Hanna, John Patt, Eddie Bruch, and 
Leonard Firestone. Hugo Bezdek was named coach with 
Carl Brumbaugh, the old Bear quarterback, as his as 

Johnny Drake of Purdue, Stan Pincura of Ohio State, 
and Bob Snyder of Ohio University formed the backbone 
of the team, which won only one of eleven games and 
finished last in the Western division. In the lone victory, 
scored by 21-3 over Philadelphia, Snyder passed to Drake 
for all three touchdowns and kicked the extra points. 

The losing habit continued into 1938 when the Rams 
dropped their first four games. In an effort to improve 
the team's fortunes, the veteran Bezdek was removed 
and the coaching job handed to Art Lewis, a husky tackle 
who, at twenty-six, became the youngest coach in big- 
time pro or college football. 

Marshman had wanted a change. He got one in a 
hurry. In their first start under the fiery Lewis* leadership, 
the Rams upset Detroit, 23-19, on a last-minute pass 
from Snyder to Johnny Kovatch. They followed this up 
with two straight victories over the Bears, defending 



champions of the division. In the first instance Snyder 
passed to a rookie end, named Jim Benton, for a touch 
down that made the final score 14-7. A week later Snyder 
passed for three touchdowns, kicked two extra points, 
and then booted a field goal that made the final score 
23-19. So impressive was Snyder that Halas, on his old 
premise of "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em/' promptly 
started negotiations for his contract. He landed him the 
next year. 

After taking two falls out of the proud Bears, the 
Rams cooled off, losing three in a row, but then came 
to life to beat Pittsburgh, 14-7, through a fortunate com 
bination of circumstances. Just before the kickoff Mrs. 
Benton had given birth to twin boys and her husband 
vowed he'd get a touchdown for each. That's just what 
he did, both on passes from Snyder. 

Benton was one of the finest pass-receiving ends ever 
to crash the pass-conscious league. Tall and angular, but 
not overly endowed with speed, he had what baseball 
players call "a great pair of hands." If he could get them 
on a ball, he'd hold it. Equally important, he was a master 
of the head and body fake and could change pace, a com 
bination calculated to tie defensive men into knots 
which it did. 

In 1939 the Rams acquired a new coach and a couple 
of exceptional rookies. They also began to acquire a fol 
lowing. The coach was Detroit's great backfield star, 
"Dutch" Clark, who retained Lewis as his assistant. The 
rookies were a halfback from Mississippi named Parker 
Hall and a guard from Texas Mines named Riley "Snake" 
Matheson. Hall, in his first season, led the league as a 
passer .and punter, was a topflight ball carrier, and was 



awarded the most-valuable-player trophy. Matheson was 
a cat on offense and deadly on defense. More than once 
he sensed a play so accurately, he intercepted a pass by 
dropping back behind his own safety man. 

With Hall, Drake, and Corby Davis leading the at 
tack, Benton snaring passes, and Matheson anchoring a 
strong line, the Rams started fast in 1940, winning three 
immediately after the season opened, most notable being 
a 14-3 conquest of the favored Lions before 32,000, the 
largest Cleveland crowd up to that time. The next week 
the Rams whipped the Giants and began to sniff a cham 

Things looked increasingly bright the next week in 
Brooklyn as the Rams moved out to a 14r-0 lead. But then 
sand got into their scoring machinery, and although they 
struck to within 5 yards of the Dodger goal line five more 
times in the first half, they couldn't pick up another point. 
Then, in the dying moments of the second quarter, "Ace" 
Parker intercepted a pass and ran 65 yards for a Brooklyn 

That play turned the tide of the game and the entire 
season for the Rams. The Dodgers came back in the sec 
ond half to pull the game out of the fire, and the Rams 
couldn't do a thing thereafter, winding up the season with 
four victories, six defeats, and a tie. Typical of the mis 
fortune that pursued them was the final game against 
Green Bay. The Rams were leading, 6-0, in the closing 
minutes of play with the Packers in possession deep in 
their own territory. Two quick passes from Cecil Isbell 
to Don Hutson put the ball on the Rams' 35 as the hands 
of the clock started their final circuit. With the seconds 
ticking away Isbell, after lining up as a flanker, took a 



handoff from Joe Laws and raced for the side line, where 
he turned and threw a pass to Laws, who had sneaked 
into the far corner of the end zone and was wide open. 
The kick for point was good and Green Bay won 7-6. 

In June of 1941 Marshman and his associates sold 
the Rams to Daniel F. Reeves and Frederick Levy, Jr., 
who immediately hired Billy Evans as general manager 
and retained the old coaching staff. The team started the 
season with victories over the Steelers and Cardinals, then 
lost nine straight to finish in the cellar. Evans resigned 
and went back to baseball. 

Reeves knew what he needed to turn his team into a 
winner, and he established an elaborate scouting system 
to unearth the talent he wanted. In 1941 he obtained an 
exceptionally good draft list, but the war ruined his plans. 
Both he and Levy were in uniform in '42 and so were 
many of his best players. After the 1942 season Major 
Levy transferred his stock to Lieutenant Reeves and the 
latter was granted permission to suspend operations in 

The players were scattered to other teams. Benton and 
Dante Magnani, a good halfback, went to the Bears; 
Matheson and end Ben Hightower to the Lions; tackle 
Chet Adams to the Packers; end Steve Pritko to the 
Giants; and tackle Joe Pasqua to the Redskins. Clark re 
signed and "Chile" Walsh advanced from assistant to 
head coach although he had no team to coach. In 1944 
Walsh became the club's general manager and selected 
Aldo "Buff" Donelli as coach. They put together a make 
shift team that, beginning with the first exhibition game, 
ran up a string of six straight victories, but could finish no 
better than 4-6 in the league. 



Before the 1945 season rolled around the coaching 
staff had undergone another change. Donelli now was in 
service and "Chile" Walsh selected his brother Adam as 
coach. Adam Walsh was center and captain of Notre 
Dame's "Four Horsemen" team and had been coaching at 
Bowdoin College. He picked two astute assistants 
George Trafton, the cagey old Bear, to tutor the line and 
Bob Snyder to handle the backs, 

He also acquired a quarterback named Bob Water- 
field from U.C.L.A., and it wasn't long before that young 
man had established himself as one of the best all-round 
backs ever to handle a football. By the time he retired 
after the 1952 season he had corralled almost every 
honor a pro can receive. He had led the league twice in 
passing despite the challenge of Sammy Baugh and Sid 
Luckman; he had led in field-goal kicking and in points 
after touchdown; he was among the league's leading 
punters and had booted one 88 yards; he had been elected 
to the All-Pro team several times. 

In his very first season he won the most-valuable- 
player trophy and by his performance passed the Rams to 
a world's championship. The team which won nine and 
lost one that year had Benton and Pritko at the ends, 
Eberle Schultz and Gil Bouley at tackles, Matheson and 
Milan Lazetich at guards, Moe Scarry at center, Fred 
Gehrke and Jim Gillette at the halves, and Don Green 
wood at full. Their title game against the Redskins, 
champions of the East, was one of the most unusual in 
history not only from the standpoint of die strange man 
ner in which it was decided but in its very setting, which 
was strictly Arctic. The field was a glacier, the mercury 
at 8 below zero. And only someone who has sat in Cleve- 



land's Municipal Stadium on the edge of Lake Erie in 
such weather can appreciate just how cold it can be. 

It was so cold the brass instruments of the Redskins' 
famed marching band were frozen and, although the 
musicians huffed and puffed and all but blew their tops, 
no sounds came out. As Dick McCann of Washington 
wrote in his life story of Sammy Baugh: "It was so cold 
that the hot broth served in the glass enclosed press coop 
turned to jellied consomme from cup to lip/' 

Early in the game the Rams blocked a punt and forced 
the Redskins back, almost to their goal line. Baugh 
dropped back in punt formation deep in his end zone but, 
instead of kicking, he executed a neat fake and let fly a 
pass toward Wayne Millner, the end, who had broken 
into the clear. It was a perfect play except for one thing 
the pass hit the goal post and rebounded into the end zone 
for an automatic safety! 

In the second period Frank Filchock passed 26 yards 
to Steve Bagarus, who ran 12 yards more for a touch 
down and Joe Aguirre converted to put the Redskins 
ahead, 7-2. Waterfield then fired a touchdown pass to 
Benton for an over-all gain of 37 yards and kicked the 
point, to make it 9-7 at the half. 

Another Waterfield pass, this one for 54 yards to Gil 
lette, made it 15-7 as Waterfield missed the extra point. 
Later in the third period, Filchock passed for 8 yards to 
Bob Seymour, and Aguirre converted to make the score 
15-14 for Cleveland. And that's the way it ended. 

Ironically, Waterfield's try for point after the first 
Ram touchdown struck the crossbar but rolled over. The 
goal posts had given the Rams the three points they 
needed for victory. 



In the league meeting later that winter it was de 
cided the rule was too severe and that thereafter a pass 
striking the goal post and bounding, as Baugh's had 
done, should constitute merely the loss of a down. But 
that action came too late to help the Redskins. 

It seems almost as strange as the game itself, but this 
was the last time the Rams were to represent Cleveland. 
Before the next season they had pulled stakes and moved 
to Los Angeles, leaving the Ohio scene to the Browns, 
who were being organized at the very time the Rams were 
being crowned champions. 

Oddly, too, subsequent meetings between the new 
Cleveland team and the old one were to furnish some of 
the climactic thrills of future seasons. 





'WINNING is NOT an evil thing. Winning fairly Is an ad 
mirable accomplishment, no matter what the field of 
endeavor. I am a football teacher. If we win before 
10,000 fans, that's swell. If we lose before 80,000, that's 

These words are what is known by most people in 
football circles and in the state of Ohio as a "Brownism." 
They were voiced by Paul Brown, a slender, balding man 
who grew up in Ohio just as pro football did and who 
in less than a decade has become perhaps the dominant 
figure in the game. These words tell the essence of the 
creed that has made him the most successful coach of 
his time. 

Just how good is this man Brown, the coach of the 
Cleveland team that bears his name? He was too good for 
his high-school league; he was so good in the Western 
Conference that rival coaches breathed a sigh of relief 
when he joined the professionals; his teams made a sham 
bles of the All America Conference; they continued to 



win with astounding regularity in the National League. 
He occupies today the coaching pinnacle where stood 
George Halas, "Curly" Lambeau, and Steve Owen before 
him, at the top of his profession. He could have almost 
any coaching job in the land for the asking. 

In his coaching career his teams have won 213 games, 
tied 9, and lost only 33. Since 1932 his teams have scored 
7,059 points to a meager 2,269 for the opposition. 

Paul Brown is much like the man who built a better 
mousetrap and, incidentally, he's set some dandies for 
opposing linemen on the football field. He has found that 
nothing succeeds like success. And so he has moved up 
from prep through college, through service into pro foot 
ball, to the top of the heap. 

Another "Brownism" is that he wants his players to 
have that "lean and hungry look," That's natural. Brown 
is a lean-and-hungry-appearing hombre himself. He was 
bom in Norwalk, Ohio, in September, 1908, but his family 
moved to Massillon when he was twelve. He became a 
football fanatic even before he was out of knee pants. 
They say that when he was twelve and weighed only 
ninety-six pounds he went to bed for three days and 
even refused food because his father wouldn't let him go 
to training camp with the Massillon football team. 

By the time he was a sophomore in high school, he 
weighed only 120 pounds, but a succession of injuries 
to backfield men forced Coach Dave Stewart to put him 
in at quarterback. The results were amazing. 

"He was like a banty rooster," Stewart says, "full of au 
thority and self-confidence. When he called plays, his 
voice rang with inspiration. The kids believed in him 
and he ran them like a Napoleon/' 



Brown enrolled at Ohio State, but when he realized 
his lack of avoirdupois might eliminate him from Big 
Ten competition, he transferred to Miami University. 
There he became the regular quarterback for two years, 
a good runner and a passer who rated above average. 

After graduating from Miami, Brown became coach 
at Severn, a preparatory school for the United States 
Naval Academy, where one of his proteges was Slade 
Cutter, one of the Navy's brightest football stars and 
later one of its outstanding heroes in World War II. In 
1932 Brown returned to Massillon High as football and 
basketball coach. He found the school's athletic system 
"a mess" and school spirit at low ebb as the result of 
repeated defeats at the hands of McKinley High of Can 
ton, the ancient athletic rival. McKinley was then the 
big power in Ohio scholastic football. 

Immediately upon taking the Massillon job, Brown 
launched a plan designed to produce a sound, long-range 
policy rather than immediate gridiron victories. He or 
ganized and coordinated efforts of coaches in the senior 
high and three junior highs, mapping and directing their 
programs until all soon were working toward one goal. 
He wasn't a "miracle man," but in his first season the 
Tigers won six, lost three, and tied one. The next year 
they won eight and lost two; and in 1934 they won all 
but one of ten contests. During the next six years Brown's 
teams played sixty games winning fifty-eight, dropping 
one, and tying one. They annexed six consecutive state 
championships. In Brown's nine years at Massillon his 
teams scored 3,202 points to the opponents' 339. The 1940 
Massillon team, which Brown considers his best, scored 
477 points to opponents' 6. 



Brown proved as shrewd a businessman as he was a 
successful coach. When he took the Massillon job in 1932, 
the school athletic fund had a deficit of $3,700. The foot 
ball field was bare and had to be sprinkled before each 
game to lay the dust. The stadium seated 5,000. In 1938 
a new stadium seating 21,000 was erected, but it wasn't 
large enough. In 1940 Massillon played before 175,000 
fans, including 161,000 at eight home contests. It out- 
drew every college in the state with the exception of Ohio 
State University. 

During his tenure at Massillon Brown noted that one 
of his players, although a willing and enthusiastic com 
petitor, seemed tired and weak. He investigated and 
found the boy's family was destitute. He reported his 
findings to the Massillon Boosters' Club, which put the 
family on its feet and kept it going while the boy attended 
Ohio State. When L. W. St. John, the Buckeye athletic 
director, congratulated the boy on his arrival, the kid 
said: "Well, Mr. St. John, if it hadn't been for Paul 
Brown, I'd have been down here in Columbus before this. 
But in a different institution." 

He was referring to the State Penitentiary! 

Following a vigorous campaign by the Ohio State 
Football Coaches Association, Brown was signed to re 
place Francis Schmidt as Ohio State coach in 1941. In 
his first season the Buckeyes won six, lost one, and tied 
one. The next year they were acclaimed national cham 
pions as they compiled a record of nine victories and one 
defeat, a mark that won Brown recognition as "coach of 
the year." His 1943 squad, which might have been one 
of the greatest in collegiate history, was wrecked by 
calls to military service. Playing against teams that were 



loaded with service trainees, the '43 Buckeyes gave 
Brown his first and only losing season as a coach. 

It was in this unhappy campaign that he had an 
experience that few coaches can match. His team won a 
game fifteen minutes after it apparently was over! 

The Buckeyes were deadlocked at 26-26 with Illinois 
in a wild and woolly battle as play went into the final 
seconds with Ohio in possession of the ball on the Illini 
28-yard line. The next play was piled up and the crowd 
surged onto the field as the final gun sounded. 

Brown walked over to exchange amenities with Ray 
Eliot, the Illinois coach, and followed the squad to the 
dressing room for the usual post-game conference. While 
it was in progress, the referee thrust his head through the 
open doorway. 

"The game isn't over," he said, to everyone's surprise. 
"You still have one more play. Illinois was off-side on the 
last one/' 

The Ohio State players hurriedly re-dressed and 
rushed back onto the field, where remnants of the crowds 
were milling around. Some knew what had happened and 
wondered what the final play would be. Brown knew. 
He already had told John Stungis to attempt a field goal. 
And Stungis never before had kicked one. 

"There's nothing to it, John," Brown told him. "I never 
missed a field goal in my life!" 

So Stungis kicked a placement. It was not an elegant 
kick. It was a wobbler that barely had the strength to 
clear the crossbar before collapsing. But it was fancy 
enough to delight Stungis, who raced into the clubhouse 
with a 29-26 victory, shouting: "Coach, I'm even with 
you. I've never missed a field goal either!" 



Brown grinned. "John," he replied, "you're one up 
on me. I've never even tried one!" 

In 1944 Brown followed most of his star athletes into 
the Navy, being commissioned a lieutenant and ap 
pointed athletic officer at Great Lakes, where he coached 
football. His '44 sailors won nine, lost two, and tied one. 
His next team, loaded with green youngsters, got off to 
a slow start, losing three and tying one, but developed 
rapidly to win its last six in a row including a 39-7 victory 
over Notre Dame for the greatest football upset o the 
year. The Brown magic was still baffling. 

In February of 1945 Brown astounded the sports 
world by announcing that he would coach the Cleveland 
Browns when the war was over. To the unbelievers he 
explained his move by recalling the past. 

*T11 never forget the pro games my gang saw when 
we were kids," he said. "You see, Massillon and Canton 
were cradles of the sport. We had a flat-bottomed boat 
which we rowed across the Tuscarawas River in Mas 
sillon. Then we scrambled up the riverbank, wiggled 
under the billboard, and presto we were on the side 
lines. It seemed that the cop on guard always was looking 
the other way when we arrived." 

Brown brought a refreshing outlook into the play-for- 
pay sport "We don't even want to look like professionals/' 
he maintained then and reiterates today. "My objective 
is to have the most amateur team in professional ball.'* 

He's not referring to his wage scale, of course, for his 
athletes are among the highest paid in the land. He's 
talking about their verve and spirit and zest for play. 
Indeed, Brown coaches his professionals precisely the 
same way he coached Massillon and Ohio State. He 



stresses fundamentals above all, but he now has one 
tremendous advantage he didn't have before. Nowadays 
he can go out and get the players he wants. 

"First of all I seek a high-class type of boy," he ex 
plains, "and then I go after youth and speed." 

He's a strict disciplinarian but doesn't believe in 
monetary fines as a means of enforcing discipline. "If 
the boys haven't enough sense to behave themselves," 
he reasons, "I don't want them on my squad." 

He gave away a tackle to a rival team one year. He 
didn't sell him, or trade him. He gave him away! 

Brown hasn't regretted for an instant his move into 
the professional side of football. Why should he? Finan 
cially he's run smack into a gold mine, since he undoubt 
edly is the highest-paid coach in football. As general 
manager he also has full control of all policies of the club, 
an unusual concession for an owner to make to a coach. 
And his teams have been clicking in pro ball just as they 
did in prep and college and service ball. 

He has built a better mousetrap and the football world 
has come to his door. 






OCCASIONALLY AT a friendly social gathering when tricks 
and horseplay are in order, Paul Brown will ask some 
unsuspecting victim if he'd like to see the necktie trick. 
If the reply is in the affirmative, hell produce some scis 
sors and snip off the man's tie just below the knot. Then 
hell launch into a discourse on football, politics, or some 
subject completely foreign to parlor pranks. Sooner or 
later the victim will ask how Paul will put the tie back 
together again. 

"Oh, that!" Brown will reply blandly. "You know, I 
never have figured out the rest of that trick." 

Later, of course, he always presents his victim with a 
costly new tie. 

"It's an expensive stunt," he admits, "but I enjoy watch 
ing people's reactions." 

The reactions to the tricks Paul Brown's football teams 
perpetrate on the gridiron are equally varied, depending 
on the point of view. Cleveland fans find them delightful, 
for he has provided the city with five championships in 



seven years and has never failed to place his Browns in 
the championship game itself. Opposing teams and 
coaches don't care for Brown's tricks at all, principally 
because they haven't been able to fathom them. And 
no one likes to be made to look foolish perpetually. 

Paul Brown is a football perfectionist. His players 
must take periodic examinations, both oral and written, 
and woe betide them if they flunk an assignment. They 
might better miss a block or a tackle. He drills his men 
long and he drills them hard, but when he is through, he 
has a polished product. 

The National Football League made this discovery in 
its first meeting with Brown back in September of 1950. 
The Browns had won the championship of the All America 
Conference in each of the four years of its brief and 
stormy life, but the older league refused to take these up 
starts seriously. "Why/' the N.F.L, partisans would scoff, 
"the weakest team in our league could beat the best in the 
All America any day in the week." 

They felt sure the point would be proved emphatically 
on the opening night of the 1950 season when the Browns 
made their National League debut against the mighty 
Eagles in Philadelphia's Municipal Stadium. But this 
meeting of champions wasn't a battle, it was a slaughter. 
The Browns won with consummate ease, 35-10. 

When he had recovered from the shock, the Eagles' 
coach, "Greasy" Neale, said: "They had too many guns. 
For ten years IVe been trying to get our passers to throw 
those long, soft passes like Otto Graham." 

Bert Bell, commissioner of the National League, paid 
the highest tribute of all "The Browns," he said, 
the best-coached team I have ever seen," 



Brown demands three things speed, condition, and 
consistent execution of fundamentals. As Jack Clowser, 
Cleveland sports writer, once phrased it: "Brown insists 
his team maintain the condition of galley oarsmen, the 
speed of track athletes, and the spirit of young business 
men who believe in their careers." 

It has proved a most effective formula. 

Arthur B. "Mickey" McBride was one of the first to 
appreciate it, signing Brown as coach of his new Cleve 
land professional team a year before it even came into 
being. Brown was still in the Navy at the time, but Mc 
Bride got his signature on a five-year contract by assuring 
him a good salary plus a percentage of the club's profits, 
and by agreeing to pay him $1,000 a month for the rest 
of the time he spent in service. 

Brown immediately began lining up players for the 
team that was to bear his name and the stamp of his 
coaching genius. He picked according to his formula 
which stresses speed, and he selected largely from among 
players he knew through personal contact either at Mas- 
sillon, Ohio State, or in the service. He also picked 
without regard to the All America Conference edict pro 
hibiting the signing of players with college eligibility 
remaining or those under contract to National League 
teams. Brown staged heavy raids on both these sources 
of talent. 

Ohio State still hasn't forgiven him for putting the 
snatch on Lou Groza, Lin Houston, Dante Lavelli, and 
Gene Fekete all of whom had periods of eligibility re 
maining. The National League was shocked when he 
grabbed such stars as Lou Rymkus and Edgar "Special 
Delivery" Jones, and it was flabbergasted when he took 



Chet Adams, Moe S carry, Don Greenwood, and Tom 
Colella from the Rams just after they had won a cham 
pionship for Cleveland. 

Brown had some bits of luck, too. The contract of 
an end from Utah named Mac Speedie came in on a piece 
of brown paper, but although the document wasn't fancy, 
Mr. Speedie was. He became one of the best pass catchers. 

Of even greater importance, however, was Brown's 
refusal to heed the advice of one of the nation's foremost 
college coaches who tried to persuade him not to sign 
Otto Graham. The handsome Graham had been an All- 
American tailback at Northwestern, but Brown envisioned 
him as a T-formation quarterback, the basic art of which 
he had mastered while at North Carolina Pre-Flight. 

"He is first of all a great passer," said Brown of Graham, 
"but more than that he has a good channel of thought; 
he has the peripheral vision; and he's the type of fellow 
personally who will create team spirit on the ball club." 

The estimate was accurate to the nth degree. Graham 
became the backbone of the Browns with his clever field 
generalship, his passing, and his running. For three years 
he was the All America's top passer, and each year Speedie 
was its leading receiver. In the only other year of the 
A.A.C/s existence, Lavelli was the leading pass receiver 
and the man who threw to him, of course, was Graham. 

Fans called Speedie and Lavelli "the touchdown 
twins" and compared them with the incomparable Don 
Hutson of Green Bay, but as some sage observed, each 
had a little bit more than Hutson, inasmuch as Speedie 
had Lavelli and Lavelli had Speedie. And both, despite 
their fleetness of foot, ran with a peculiar gait. 

There are people around his boyhood home who can 



recall Speedie as a courageous little six-year-old hobbling 
around wearing a heavy brace on one leg to help fight a 
hip disease. He was given a pair of crutches but refused 
to use them. He had some unhappy times for a year or 
two, but attempted to play in neighborhood games despite 
the brace and even climbed onto a roof to prove to the 
other boys and himself that he wasn't handicapped. 

His perseverance paid off to such an extent that, al 
though his left leg is a trifle smaller and shorter than the 
right, he managed to set a Rocky Mountain Conference 
record in the low hurdles and once forced Fred Wolcott 
to a world's hurdle record to beat him. Paul Brown spotted 
him as a member of the Fort Warren team in a game 
against Great Lakes and tabbed him for future service 
in Cleveland. 

To complement Graham's passing, Brown selected a 
fullback he remembered from his coaching days at Mas- 
sillon High. His teams had experienced great difficulty 
trying to stop Marion Motley of Canton, and he saw no 
reason why pro lines shouldn't have just as much trouble. 
Again he was right, for the 235-pound Motley, who com 
bined tremendous speed with his vast bulk, was a sensa 
tion from the day he broke into the A.A.C. With Graham 
throwing over the enemy's heads and Motley banging 
up the middle on trap plays, the Browns won forty-seven 
games, lost four, and tied three in four years. 

Motley was one of several brilliant Negro players on 
the Cleveland roster. Another was Bill Willis, former 
Ohio State star, conceded to be as good as they come on 
defense. And another was Horace Gillom, a good de 
fensive end and a punter who could get tremendous 
distance into his kicks. 



Gillom was one of Brown's athletic joys at Massillon, 
and the story is told of the time Paul's small son, Mike, 
fell from a second-story window. Brown, when informed 
of the accident, rushed to the hospital. There Mike lifted 
a tear-stained face. 

"I'll bet you're glad it was me and not Horace Gillom," 
he blubbered, 

Under the free-substitution rule most coaches send 
in new plays and information by changing quarterbacks 
or by sending in a halfback. Brown does it by switching 
guards. Bob Gaudio and Lin Houston have run marathon 
distances shuttling back and forth from field to bench 
with information calculated to do the job up "Brown." 

One of the Browns' most humiliating defeats came at 
the hands of the San Francisco Forty-Niners in the old 
A.A.C. days. The Forty-Niners beat them, 56-28, rolling 
up the highest point total ever amassed against a Brown 
team. The coach was calm enough at the time, but a few 
hours later he hit the ceiling. 

"Apparently you have reached the point," he stormed, 
"where you think all you need to do to win is just show up 
on the field. Well, let me tell you this that attitude will 
be changed in a hurry. If necessary, well sell the whole 
team and start out fresh with men who really want to play 

The following week the Browns murdered the Dons, 

Perhaps the greatest game the Browns ever played 
in the All America Conference was against the New York 
Yankees, who had moved into a 28-0 lead. Just before 
the half, Graham pitched a scoring pass to Billy Boe- 
decker; then as the second half opened, the Clevelanders 


Dante Lavelli 





Johnny Drake 

Mac Speedie 


Marlon Motley 

Otto Graham 

Bill Willis 





Corby Davis 

Lou Groza 

Art Lewis 

Paul Brown 


really went to town. First Graham passed to Motley for 
a touchdown, then Motley ran up the middle on a trap 
to bring the count to 28-21. Finally Jim Dewar bolted 
for 5 to climax a march of 90 yards for the fourth touch 
down and Groza kicked the tying point. 

Groza, appropriately called "The Toe/' is one of the 
truly amazing men on the Brown roster. He played only 
freshman football at Ohio State but was good enough to 
move in at tackle when he came out of service to Join 
the Browns. And he probably never has had an equal as 
a field-goal kicker. From long or short, Groza can boot 
'em, and in the automatic business of adding the point 
after touchdown, he hasn't missed in the memory of the 
oldest inhabitant. His most important kick was reserved 
for the championship play-off game against the Rams in 
1950, a game played before some 30,000 on treacherous, 
icy footing in the Cleveland Stadium. 

On the first play following the opening kickoff, Bob 
Waterfield hurled a pass to Glenn Davis, who caught it 
for a gain of 82 yards and a touchdown. Graham pitched 
to "Dub" Jones for the tying points, but the Rams moved 
back in front when Hoerner plunged 3 yards to the goal 
line for another score. 

In the second period Graham threw a touchdown to 
Lavelli, but the pass from center was juggled to ruin the 
try for point, and the Rams still led, 14-13. Early in the 
second half Graham passed again to Lavelli to bring the 
score to 20-14 in favor of the Browns. Hoerner's plunge 
and Waterfield's kick put the Rams ahead, 21-20, and in 
a matter of moments Larry Brink had gathered in a fum 
ble and scored another touchdown. 

Still the Browns stubbornly refused to concede. Gra- 



ham passed again to Rex Bumgardner, and Groza con 
verted to leave them a point short of a tie. Then Graham 
took over the show. First he'd pass, then when the Rams 
were expecting him to throw again, he'd run for valuable 
yardage, until with twenty-eight seconds remaining to 
play, Groza kicked a field goal from the 16-yard line 
for the points that meant victory. 

The next season the Rams exacted revenge in the 
play-off, 24-17, but earlier in the year "Dub" Jones en 
graved his name in the record books by scoring six touch 
downs in a rout of the Bears, once the proudest name in 
football annals. 

In 1952 the Browns experienced their roughest sea 
son, winding up with an 8-4 record which still was good 
enough to place them in the play-offs. But along the way 
Groza had been injured and in such a way that he couldn't 
kick as he once did. And without "The Toe" the Browns 
got the boot in the championship game, this time from the 
Lions. And in 1953 Paul Brown found himself working for 
new employers, McBride having sold the team to a Cleve 
land syndicate for upwards of $600,000. Dave R. Jones 
became the new president; other officers included Ellis 
Ryan, former head of the baseball Indians, and Homer 
Marshman, who started the Rams in '37, 





DAN REEVES admitted much later that when he purchased 
the Rams his sole idea was to obtain a football team he 
eventually could move to Los Angeles. He didn't realize 
quite what a job it would be to accomplish the actual 
moving. Too many of the other club owners in the Na 
tional League considered the idea of a junket of from 
2,000 to 3,000 miles to Los Angeles "economic insanity." 

They still held firm to this idea in the league meeting 
of 1946 when he proposed the idea. They scoffed, too, 
when he suggested a move to Texas. That, also, they con 
sidered financially unsound. 

"And you call this the National League!" Reeves scoffed. 
He stalked out of the meeting, tossing over his shoulder 
the news that the Rams were out of football. That gesture 
convinced the other owners that Reeves meant business. 
Reeves, in turn, convinced them that he meant business 
in Los Angeles, or not at all. So Los Angeles it was. 

Even after that it wasn't easy. For one thing the All 
America Conference Dons, with the race-track millions 



of Benjamin F. Lindheimer behind them, were a stubborn 
rival for the hand of Southern California fandom. For 
another the Rams, despite the addition of such players 
as Tommy Harmon, Fred Naumetz, Mike Holovak, and 
others, couldn't recover their winning formula of Cleve 
land days. They wound up the season with six victories, 
four defeats, and one tie; and the Walsh brothers, in turn, 
wound up without jobs. 

Bob Snyder, who had been responsible for much of 
the Rams' limited success in Cleveland, was elevated to 
the position of head coach; but the Rams maintained 
only a .500 rating in 1947, and when they blew their 
opener the next season he, too, was out of work. 

The new coach was Clark Shaughnessy, the graying, 
somber, sober tactical genius who had helped George 
Halas perfect the T-formation and who had led Stanford 
to the Rose Bowl eight years before. 'Tis said that Shaugh 
nessy lives in a world of his own, in a sort of football 
stratosphere filled with diagrams, signals, stopwatches, 
and complicated theory. But for a man who supposedly 
deals in the ethereal, he instilled a lot of red-blooded fury 
into the Rams. 

They weren't so hot in 1948, finishing with a record 
of 6-5-1, but the tie game was one Los Angeles fans will 
remember as long as they talk football. Trailing the 
Eagles, 28-0, with less than twenty minutes to play, they 
rallied as few teams ever have. 

With Waterfield pitching strikes, they scored first 
on a pass to Jack Zilly at end. Tom Fears, the other end, 
grabbed another pass a yard from the Eagle goal line, 
and Wayne Hoffman, the fullback, plunged over. Water- 
field passed again, this time to Bill Smyth, and the Rams 



were within seven points of a tie. With a bit more than a 
minute left, Waterfield hit Zilly again, then kicked the 
point that made it a standoff. 

The next season Shaughnessy brought the Rams home 
in front in the Western division with an 8-2-2 record and 
drew a tremendous outpouring of 86,000 to see the crucial 
game against the Bears. This run of success killed off the 
challenge of the Dons, who left the rich fields of Southern 
California exclusively to the Rams. But with a bonanza 
just around the corner, the Rams blew the championship 
game to the Eagles, 14-0, in a battle of rain and mud 
that grounded their aerial weapons and left them im 
potent in the fray. 

One of Shaughnessy's coaching assistants in this sea 
son of disappointment was Joe Stydahar, and the events 
that came to pass in mid-February of 1950 opened a 
permanent breach between the two. 

Stydahar's old buddy during the glory days of the 
Chicago Bears, Gene Ronzani, had been named head 
coach of the Green Bay Packers, and he wanted Joe as 
his right-hand man. Stydahar immediately went to Reeves 
and requested a release, explaining he felt he could not 
afford to turn down the Packer offer. 

Reeves, without explaining that he was not satisfied 
with the work of the dour Shaughnessy, who was not too 
well liked by the players, told Joe to come back in a 
couple of days for a reply. 

Two days later Stydahar walked into Reeves' office, 
fully expecting to be on his way to Green Bay within 
a few moments. To his utter consternation, Reeves told 
him: "J oe > 7 OU are t^ e new head coach of the Rams!" 

When informed of the change in management, 



Shaughnessy made an unfortunate remark that will haunt 
him throughout his coaching career. 

"Stydahar coach of the Rams?" he said. "Why, I could 
take a high-school team and beat him/' 

If possible, that was a more unfortunate choice of 
words even than Bill Terry's when, as manager of the 
Giants, he inquired if Brooklyn was still in the National 
League. Just as the baseball Dodgers made Terry eat 
those words, so did Stydahar gain revenge. In two years 
as the Rams' coach he won two divisional titles and one 
world's championship. Then he, too, was fired. 

Joe Stydahar is a born worrier, but you'd never guess 
it by looking at him. In his prime with the Bears he stood 
6-4 and weighed a lusty 235 pounds or more. With the 
Rams, until he took to strict dieting, he ballooned to 
close to 300 despite a tendency to stew and fret and bite 
his nails over every game. He had to battle incipient 
ulcers as sturdily as he ever did an opposing tackle. After 
the Rams had won the championship in 1951, he retired 
to a sanitarium where the examining physician said: "This 
man is suffering from extreme mental tension." 

Stydahar always got a severe attack of "butterflies" 
before a game when he was a player, but that's an ailment 
common to most real competitors. His sidekick "Bulldog" 
Turner, even after a dozen seasons among the pros, would 
have to curtail his pre-game warmup because of a queasy 

If "Jumbo Joe" has nerves, he also has nerve. Few 
players have been more fearless or rugged. Bill Osmanski 
likes to tell the tale of a Bears-Brooklyn game in which 
the Dodgers' great tackle, "Bruiser" Kinard, was giving 
him a bad time. On one play Osmanski was knocked cold 



and Stydahar, picking him up, asked, "Who did it, 

Osmanski said he wasn't quite sure, but that it was 
either No. 52 or No. 25. 

"A couple of plays later, Stydahar and Kinard crashed 
together so hard the force of the collision opened a deep 
gash on Kinard's arm, and he had to go to the clubhouse 
to have some stitches taken in the wound," Osmanski 
relates. "The officials couldn't believe a mere collision, no 
matter how violent, could cause such an injury. They 
thought Joe must have been wielding a knife. In fact, 
they searched all of us for concealed weapons. They even 
looked in Stydahar's mouth to see if he could have bitten 
Kinard! That was a waste of time if I ever saw one. Joe 
couldn't bite anybody. Not without teeth." 

"Big Joe/* who lost his molars on the gridiron, made 
them an object lesson one day after the Rams had taken 
a 49-14 licking from the Eagles. 

"No wonder you guys get kicked around," he stormed. 
"Every guy on this team has still got all his teeth!" 

Then he dropped this bit of advice: "When you charge 
you've got to keep your head up. You may lose a lot of 
teeth that way. But you also make a lot of tackles!" 

Stydahar, a defensive giant as a player, is completely 
offensive-minded as a coach. "You gotta score points," he 
says. "I want teams that can roll up thirty to forty points a 
game. Let the other guy try to match that." 

With Waterfield and Norm Van Brocklin alternating 
in throwing passes, "Jumbo Joe" put his theory into 
practice in 1950 when the Rams won nine of twelve games 
while rolling up a record of 5,420 yards of gain with 3,709 
yards and 31 touchdowns being recorded through the air. 



A year later the Rams were even more explosive, topping 
their total yardage of the 1950 season by 86. And in a 
game against the Yanks on September 28, 1951 , they 
established two single game records for mileage, getting 
735 yards in all, 554 of them through the air. 

It had been predicted that the soft-spoken Stydahar 
would have trouble handling two such gifted passers as 
Waterfield and Van Brocklin, that jealousy would be sure 
to split the pair. But Joe never played one against the 
other. Quite the reverse. He had them rooting for one an 
other. As a result they finished one-two in the league in 
point of passing efficiency. 

The master stroke that made the Ram aerial attack 
so devastating was the decision to make an end out of 
Elroy "Crazy Legs*' Hirsch. The former Wisconsin star 
had been a halfback in college and during an unhappy, 
injury-plagued career in the All America Conference. 
Stydahar and his assistant, Hampton Pool, reasoned 
logically that inasmuch as the Rams had a plethora of 
backfield talent, Hirsch might turn his speed and flair for 
open-field running to better advantage on the receiving 
end of passes. So they stationed him at right end opposite 
Tom Fears and immediately had the best one-two punch 
since football became air-minded. 

Fears in 1949-50 was the league's leading pass catcher, 
snaring 84 passes the latter campaign, 18 of them in one 
game, both records. The next year it was Hirsch's turn. 
"Crazy Legs," a nickname that becomes obvious when you 
watch his leg action when he runs, caught 66 passes for 
a record 1,495 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also led the 
league in scoring with 102 points. 

Fears and Hirsch and Waterfield and Van Brocklin 



had plenty of able assistance in 1950. The backfield had 
power in Dick Hoerner, "Deacon" Dan Towler, and "Tank" 
Younger, and it had speed in Glenn Davis, Verda T. Smith 
(better known as "Vitamin"), and Tommy Kalmanir. The 
line was experienced and gigantic with centers like Don 
Paul and Fred Naumetz, guards like Stan West and John 
Finlay, and a quartet of tackles like Dick Huffman, Bob 
Reinhard, Gil Bouley, and Ed Champagne. In Larry Brink 
they had one of the best defensive ends. 

These Rams were good, but not quite good enough. 
The season lasted just twenty-eight seconds too long. By 
that margin did they miss defeating the Cleveland Browns 
in the championship play-off. 

Things weren't nearly so bright when the 1951 season 
dawned. Many of the stars of the previous year had retired 
and some had "jumped" to the Canadian league. Styda- 
har was left with the staggering task of rebuilding his line 
almost from scratch. From tackle to tackle his offensive 
line was new. It had Don Simensen of St. Thomas and 
Tom Dahms of San Diego State at tackles, Dick Daugh- 
erty of Oregon and Bill Lange of Dayton at guards, and 
Leon McLaughlin of U.C.L.A. at center. Two other 
rookie tackles Jim Winkler of Texas A. and M. and 
Charley Toogood of Nebraska were standouts, too, as 
was Andy Robustelli from tiny Arnold College at de 
fensive end opposite the mighty Brink. 

Such was the coaching job turned in by the great old 
lineman Stydahar that these youngsters, opening the way 
for a "bull-elephant" backfield of Towler, Younger, and 
Hoerner all well above the 200-pound mark did the 
supposedly impossible, with the help of some unexpected 
good luck on the last day of the season. Going into their 



final game against the Packers, the Rams were tied for 
second place with the Bears, a half game behind Detroit. 
But as a kindly Fate would have it, the Rams won that 
day, while the Lions and Bears lost, and thus were the 
Rams catapulted into the division title with an S-4 record. 

The title game pitted them once again against the 
Browns, and in anticipation of an afternoon of fancy pass 
ing and high scoring a record crowd of 59,475 sat in the 
Coliseum. The fans weren't to be disappointed. 

After a scoreless first period, Waterfield's passes swept 
the Rams to within a yard of a touchdown and Hoerner 
bucked over. Waterfield converted and Los Angeles led, 
7-0. The Browns came back to take a 10-7 lead at the half 
on the strength of a 17-yard pass from Otto Graham to 
"Dub" Jones and a 52-yard field goal by Lou Groza. 

Those defensive stalwarts, Brink and Robustelli, put 
the Rams ahead in the third period. Brink tackled Graham 
so hard he fumbled. Robustelli picked up the ball and 
carried it to the 1-yard line. From there Towler plunged 
over for the score. 

A field goal by Waterfield raised the Rams' margin, 
17-10, but Ken Carpenter plowed for a Brown touchdown 
that tied things up in the final period. Then in the closing 
minutes Van Brocklin faded back and fired a tremendous 
pass to Fears, who raced between two defensive men, 
leaped to make the catch, came down in full flight, and 
raced to the goal line. The play covered 73 yards and 
ended the Browns' long reign as pro football's best. 

As the final gun proclaimed them champions, the 
hilarious Rams tried to hoist the mammoth Stydahar to 
their shoulders to carry him off the field in triumph, but 
his vast weight was too much and they dropped him. 


Riley Mcttheson 

Daniel F. Reeves 



Elroy Hirsch 

Norm Van Brocklin 

J. Hampton Pool 



Bob Reinhard 

Tom Fears 


Jim Benton 

Bob Waterfield 


That was prophetic, for when the Rams got off to a shaky 
start in 1952, the management dropped him, too. 

Into his job stepped "Hamp" Pool, his aide, of whom 
"Jumbo Joe" once said: "To my way of thinking, Pool is 
the best young coach in football." 

Pool rallied the unpredictable Rams, who won eight 
in a row to force a play-off for the division title with the 
Lions in 1952, but this time they couldn't win the deci 
sive one. 

That was an historic game, even though it ended in 
defeat, for it was the last one for Waterfield, who had 
written so much into the records for the Rams in their 
football tale of two cities. He retired to enter the movies 
with his wife, the glamorous Jane Russell. 






H. G. SALSINGER, Detroit sports editor, went to the minor- 
league meeting in New York, in 1933, to write some base 
ball stories for his paper. He came back, it turned out, 
with a football team. 

This unexpected development came about because of 
a conversation between Salsinger and Joe Carr, who at 
the time was trying to salvage minor-league baseball as 
well as direct major-league football. Carr told "Sol" that 
the Portsmouth franchise was available, that he felt De 
troit was ripe for pro football, and that the whole Ports 
mouth team could be acquired at bargain rates. 

On his return to Detroit, Salsinger had lunch at the 
Detroit Athletic Club with Ed Batchelor and Cy Huston. 
The three discussed the idea and decided that pro foot 
ball in Detroit was both desirable and practicable, but 
someone must be found who had the money to invest in 
such an enterprise and was willing to take the gamble. 
The discussion had reached this stage when the trio was 
joined by Leo Fitzpatrick, who said he knew the very 



man G. A. "Dick" Richards, who had amassed a fortune 
in the tire and automotive business and who then owned 
radio station WJR in Detroit. 

A phone call was all that was needed to prove Richards 
was interested. He immediately dispatched his attorney, 
William Alfs, to Portsmouth and in no time a deal had 
been consummated by which the Spartans moved to De 
troit en masse and became the Lions. With them came 
their coach, George "Potsy" Clark, and their great star, 
Earl "Dutch" Clark. The latter had remained out of foot 
ball for a time to coach at Colorado College, his Alma 
Mater, and Richards made certain he'd play before com 
pleting the deal. 

It took a man of courage and foresight to enter the 
football business in Detroit, where the sport twice had 
flopped. In 1925 Jimmy Conzelman put a team in Navin 
Field at a rental of $1,000 a game for ten games. Inclem 
ent weather on all ten Sundays put an end to that ex 
periment. In 1928 Benny Friedman's Wolverines couldn't 
make a go of it and became a road club. 

Richards, however, was a showman, a promoter with 
ideas and the drive to carry them out. First he made his 
Lions the best-dressed team in football with jerseys and 
stockings of Honolulu blue and helmets and pants of 
silver. He had Coach Clark insist that every player going 
onto the field or leaving it do so "on the double." When 
traveling, the Lions all dressed alike with identical sport 
jackets, slacks, and ties. 

Jim Schlemmer, veteran Akron sports writer, expe 
rienced a reaction that was typical. "I saw them on the 
train one day," he says, "and they looked good, so I went 
to see them play. They looked just as good on the field." 



Richards had a three-point program for professional 
football, and he battled constantly to put it over. He 
wanted (1) a nationally-known sports figure like Grant- 
land Rice to serve as president; (2) to improve officiating 
by bringing in the best from the Western Conference; and 
(3) to provide good entertainment between halves to 
"dress up" the games as he had dressed up his players. 

His first step to accomplish the latter aim was to bring 
in the Michigan State College Band, all expenses paid, but 
later he made a cash outlay of $7,500 to develop the 
Wayne University Band under the leadership of Graham 
Overgard. Wayne musicians still toot at home games. 

Money, to "Dick" Richards, was merely a convenient 
commodity by means of which he could accomplish his 
desires. One night in New York following the 1934 sea 
son, during which he had seen Bronko Nagurski trample 
the Lions on a couple of occasions, he sat in a cafe with 
Nagurski, Cliff Battles of the Redskins, Coach George 
Halas of the Bears, and a few others. 

"Nagurski," he said suddenly as an idea struck him, 
Til give you $10 3 000 to get the hell out of this league. 
Understand, I'm not trying to buy your contract. I just 
don't want you ruining any more of my ball players." 

With that he flipped out his checkbook, screwed the 
cap off his pen, and made out a check for $10,000 payable 
to Bronko Nagurski. 

"There," he said, slapping the check down on the table 
with a triumphant gesture. 

Nagurski, staring uncomprehendingly at this unprec 
edented action, sat transfixed for a moment. Before he 
could react and move, Halas had leaped up and grabbed 
the check. And so it came about that Richards didn't get 



his wish and the "Bronk" didn't get his check but he did 
get a nice raise in salary from Halas the next season. 

After the season of 1939 Richards, who was vacation 
ing in the West, heard a friend talk of a fabulous center 
from Hardin Simmons University. His name was Clyde 
"Bulldog" Turner. Not one to overlook a chance to sign 
a star, Richards dined and wined Turner and even spent 
$200 to repair some of Turner's teeth which had been 
damaged by enemy heels and knees. 

At this time, however, the Bears had prior claim on 
Turner, having selected him in the December draft of 
college talent. And so it was that the Lions were fined 
$5,000 for "tampering" with a player who rightfully 
belonged to another club. Richards sold the club shortly 
thereafter but for several years never forgave Halas. 
Indeed, the Bears' coach wasn't the only National League 
figure who had incurred Richards' intense disfavor. 

In the back yard of Richards' home at Palm Springs 
after his retirement, so the story goes, was a row of tomb 
stones. Each bore a name engraved in marble. One was 
erected to the memory of Halas, another to Tim Mara, 
owner of the Giants, and a third to "Potsy" Clark, the 
coach who gave Richards a championship in 1935 but 
who fell into disfavor shortly thereafter. 

Oddly, Richards underwent a change of heart when 
he heard Halas had rejoined the Navy in 1942. He tele 
graphed congratulations terming him the "finest Ameri 
can." When they met later, Halas said, after a hearty 
handshake: " 'Dick/ I wish you were back in the league/* 

When he bought the Spartans early in 1934, Richards 
acquired a fine halfback, Glen Presnell, whom he wouldn't 
have had but for an oversight by a fellow magnate, Art 



Rooney of Pittsburgh. The Steelers and Portsmouth had 
been scheduled for a game in Cleveland the previous fall, 
but a blizzard had forced cancellation of the game. 
Rooney sought his guarantee of $2,500 only to discover 
the Spartans didn't have it. 

"We don't have the money, Art/' he was told, "but 
we'll let you have Presnell." 

Rooney neglected to file the deal with the league presi 
dent, so when Richards bought the Spartans he also pur 
chased Presnell. A few months later the former Nebraska 
halfback kicked a placement field goal of 54 yards, a rec 
ord that still is in the books. It was, incidentally, a longer 
kick than Presnell had made even in practice. 

Richards scored his ten-strike, however, in insisting 
that "Dutch" Clark be included in the deal, for the flying 
Dutchman could do everything on a football field and 
do it as well as or better than anyone else. The finest trib 
utes to his skill as a runner came from the men who tried 
to stop his mad gallops. 

"'Dutch* looks like the easiest man in the game to 
tackle," said Nagurski. "The first time I tried it ? I figured 
I'd break him in two. When I closed my arms, however, 
all I was hugging was some nice, thin air. Maybe he's a 

"Red" Grange was even more extravagant in his praise. 
"He's the hardest man in football, any kind of football, 
anywhere, to tackle. His change of pace fools 'em all. 
The smarter and more experienced they are, the easier he 
seems to slick 'em." 

"He's like a rabbit in a brush heap," said "Potsy" Clark 
at the time. "That's the best description I can imagine of 
his way of running. He has no plan, no definite direction, 



he doesn't run better in one direction than another. He's 
a purely instinctive runner who cuts, pivots, slants, and 
reverses seemingly by instinct. 

"No back ever followed interference better than 'Dutch.* 
But when his interference gets him into the secondary, 
he begins his own dervish dance. He'll get out of more 
holes than anybody you ever saw, and just about the time 
you expect to see him smothered, he's free of taclders and 
gone on his way." 

"Dutch" Clark could run, he could pass, he could punt, 
he could drop-kick, and he was as smart a field general 
as a coach could wish. But his backfield teammates also 
were men of more than ordinary skill. At the halfbacks, 
in addition to Presnell, who could double as a quarterback, 
were Frank Christensen of Utah and Ernie Caddel of 
Stanford, the master of the reverse play by which the 
Lions pulled so many games out of the fire. 

Rounding out the backfield was a sturdy bull of a man 
named Leroy Gutowsky, whom everyone knew by the 
nickname of "Ace." He was as fine a spinning fullback as 
ever banged his nose into a line. While at Oklahoma City 
University he ? like many other football players, had a job 
on the fire department. All would respond to three-alarm 
fires at any hour of the day or night, but luckily for both 
the city and O.C.U. there never was a major conflagration 
on a Saturday afternoon during the football season. "Ace" 
joined the Giants in 1931 but broke his leg the first time 
he carried the ball, so gravitated to Portsmouth, thence 
to Detroit and stardom. 

To this array, in 1935, were added Raymond "Buddy" 
Parker and Bill Shepherd. The latter, a star at Western 
Maryland, had been signed by the Redskins that fall but 



couldn't ran the length of his hotel room in the early 
games, so was traded to the Lions in mid-season for Doug 
Nott. He promptly regained his ability to run and became 
one of the league's sturdiest work-horse backs. Parker, 
dividing his time between halfback and fullback, helped 
the Lions to a title in 1935 but soon moved to Chicago, 
returning as coach years later to lead the Lions to their 
next championship in 1952. 

The Lions lost only three of thirteen games in their 
first year, two of them to the Bears, who went through 
the season unbeaten. Each of the Bear games was lost by 
the margin of a field goal. And in one of them 
Roy "Father" Lumpkin, sturdy all-round back and de 
fensive specialist, suffered a severely cut mouth and lip 
in the first half. Fortified with a dozen or more stitches 
and with his mouth taped shut, he reappeared to play the 
entire second half. 

One of "Dick" Richards' methods of building the Lions 
was to give the club "window dressing" by including many 
of the city's industrial leaders among the directors. Some 
of the early boosters of the club were Fred Fisher of 
Fisher Bodies, Hugh Dean of General Motors, George 
Fink of Great Lakes Steel, and K. T. Keller of Chrysler. 
Through their auspices and the help of other civic leaders 
many Lions have gone on to become successful in the 
automotive and allied fields. 

Perhaps the most successful of all these ex-Lions is 
big George Christensen, a Phi Beta Kappa at Oregon and 
as good a tackle as he was a student or a businessman. 
His 235 pounds anchored the line at right tackle for 
eight years. On the opposite side of the line during the 
championship season of '35 were Jack Johnson and Jim 



Steen. The latter, a Rhodes scholar from Syracuse, didn't 
hit it off with big "Chris" and the pair seldom spoke. 
Years later when they met at a Lion "alumni" meeting 
they scarcely grunted a greeting but soon found them 
selves engrossed in a technical discussion and on friendly 
terms at last. 

Ed Klewicki and John Schneller were the starting 
ends with the veteran Clare Randolph at center. Regis 
Monahan held down one guard and the other belonged 
to Grover "Ox" Emerson, whose aggressive play won All- 
League honors. 

The Lions won seven, lost three, and tied two that 
year to take the division title, then met the Giants in the 
play-off at the University of Detroit Stadium on a field 
made muddy by melting snow. 

The goo didn't slow the Lions despite the fact they 
relied largely on speed. They charged to a quick touch 
down which Gutowsky scored on a short plunge, then 
"Dutch" Clark broke away on a touchdown dance. The 
records list his run as one of 40 yards but actually he 
went more than 100, weaving from one side line to the 
other with almost every Giant having at least two shots 
at him as they tried to determine which was more slippery, 
Clark or the ooze. 

The Giants scored in the third period to reduce the 
Detroit margin to 13-7 when Danowski passed to Strong, 
but the Lions scored twice in the fourth period to make 
the final score 26-7. First George Christensen blocked a 
punt to set up a touchdown dash by Caddel, and then 
Parker charged 9 yards for the other tally after intercept 
ing a pass and returning it 23 yards. 

The following year the Lions, their backfield super- 



charged with fine runners, rushed for a total of 2,885 
yards, a record that still stands and is matched only 
remotely by their own 2,763 yards in 1934. But things 
began to go wrong for the boys in blue and silver in the 
All-Star game and kept getting worse until they wound 
up with an 8-4 record in 1936. 

"Dutch" Clark's running was the more amazing when 
it is taken into consideration he was almost totally blind 
in the left eye. This affliction handicapped him greatly in 
the All-Star game that year, for he never had played in 
a night game before and the lights blinded him com 
pletely at times. One such occasion came in the fourth 
period when the Lions, losing 7-0, were on about the 
Collegians* 10-yard line and needed a touchdown and the 
conversion to salvage their prestige. 

Clark couldn't see to throw a pass, so he called on 
the old reliable Caddel reverse. Faking a run up the mid 
dle himself, he handed off the ball behind his back to 
Caddel, who swept around the All-Star right end for a 
touchdown. Then "Dutch," still blinking in the glare of 
the lights and unable to see the goal posts, drop-kicked 
the ball squarely between them for the tying point. 

That was typical of "Dutch's" ability under pressure, 
so Richards, determined on a coaching change in 1937, 
made it as minor a one as possible, altering only the 
coach's first name. "Dutch" replaced "Potsy" at the helm 
and suddenly found himself possessed of a personal press 
agent. He had been a pro since 1931 and was acknowl 
edged one of the finest players in football history, yet 
he always had shunned the limelight, so Richards, deter 
mined to glamorize him, hired the most famous name in 
the publicity field Steve Hannagan. It was largely 



through his own efforts, not Steve's, however, that "Dutch" 
was selected on the All-League team as quarterback for 
the sixth time. 

At the very outset of his coaching regime, "Dutch" 
found himself in trouble from an unexpected source. 
George Christensen and "Dick" Richards couldn't agree 
on an estimate of the big tackle's monetary worth to the 
club and "Chris" was holding out. He stubbornly refused 
to sign a contract. Richards, still optimistic over the Lions' 
chances and eager to acquire players that might lead the 
way to another championship, asked Clark one day after 
practice, "What do you need?" 

"We need 'Chris/ " said "Dutch" without hesitation. 

Richards forthwith summoned Tommy Emmet, the 
club's publicitor and his trusted aide. He instructed Em 
met to siga Christensen, but not to pay more than a certain 
price for his services. Emmet, always the master psychol 
ogist, told big "Chris" the Lions figured they didn't need 
him, that Richards felt they never had been blessed with 
so many fine right tackles and that "Chris" couldn't win a 
job anyway. 

"Why the dirty so-and-so!" bellowed Christensen. "He 
said that? I'll show him! Where's that contract?" 

And that season, his last, he proved once again that 
he had few equals as a lineman in those days when sixty- 
minute men were still the rule. 

The Lions of '37 obviously were over the hill. After 
one more season "Dutch" decided he was, too, and retired 
as a player. He also quit as the Lions' coach and moved to 

So ended Detroit's first taste of football glory. 




Gus HENDERSON, with a long record of coaching experi 
ence and the lugubrious nickname of "Gloomy Gus" 
assumed command of the Lions in 1939, becoming the 
oldest coach in the league and the only one active who 
had not competed as a professional, although he had 
coached the Bulldogs in Los Angeles. In a coaching 
career of twenty-nine seasons his teams had lost only 
forty-six games, but his thirtieth campaign was not to 
follow that pattern of success. The Lions lost five of eleven 
games. The next year he was gone and, for that matter, 
so was Richards. 

His health failing, the ebullient Richards had been 
dickering for the sale of the Lions even before the club 
was stuck with the $5,000 plaster for illegal traffic with 
"Bulldog" Turner. That run-in increased his determina 
tion to sell, and on February 10, 1940, he disposed of the 
team to Fred Mandel, Chicago merchant, for a reputed 
$225,000. This represented a nice, fat profit for Richards, 
whose total expenditure in acquiring the team from Ports- 



mouth was $19,000 for the franchise proper and $2,500 
additional for payment of back debts. 

The sale of the Lions to a Chicagoan met with con 
siderable disfavor among civic-minded Detroiters, and the 
unfortunate Mandel encountered additional discourage 
ment when he couldn't close a deal for Briggs Stadium 
and so was forced to play his home games at the Uni 
versity of Detroit. This loss in seating capacity cut deeply 
into the gate receipts. 

Mandel went all out to produce a winner, however. 
First, he brought back "Potsy" Clark as coach. Next, he 
signed Byron "Whizzer" White, the brilliant Colorado 
star who had been the league's leading ground gainer in 
1938 with the Steelers. Richards had offered Pittsburgh 
$10,000 for him that year, but "Whizzer" elected to ac 
cept a Rhodes scholarship and went to Oxford, giving up 
his football career. He returned after the outbreak of war 
and enrolled at Yale but then succumbed to the call of the 
gridiron for the '40 and ? 41 seasons, after the Lions had 
purchased his contract for $5,000. In his first season with 
the Lions he again was the league's top ground gainer and 
was an All-League backfield choice. 

"Potsy" Clark, who had employed "iron men" in his 
first term as the Lions* tamer, changed his tune with the 
times and, looking over a big and talented squad, de 
clared: "Men can burn out as well as rust out. This we 
wish to avoid. There are no first-string players on this 
team. Or, rather, everyone is a first-string player." 

He had a wealth of tested old pros such as Bill Shep 
herd, Lloyd Cardwell, Fred "Chopper" Vanzo, and Howie 
Weiss in the backfield; Bill Fisk and Chuck Hanneman 
at ends; and Alex Wojciechowicz, Bill Feldhaus, John 



"Socko" Wiethe, Jack Johnson, and Bill Radovicli in the 
line. Rookies included Glen Morris, Dwight "Paddlefoof 
Sloan, "Cotton" Price, and Bob Winslow. 

Back in 1936 Cardwell and Morris had been decathlon 
rivals in the Olympic trials at Randall's Island in New 
York City. Cardwell was leading on points when he 
wrenched his shoulder. Morris carried on to win the event 
in the international games in Berlin. In 1940 they were 
teammates on the Lions and for a second time Cardwell 
injured a shoulder. And once again Morris replaced him. 

Vanzo, former Northwestern star, who earned his nick 
name of "Chopper" by the manner in which he brought 
down opponents while blocking for his backfield mates, 
was one of those rock-ribbed fellows who thrive on the 
rougher phases of football. In this season he finally con 
sented to wear a nose guard to protect a schnozz that had 
been broken thirteen times, which probably stands as a 
course record, pro or college. He also had suffered a 
broken jaw, a shoulder dislocation, and had both knees 
damaged, but he still was little short of terrific. 

Wojciechowicz was another of this durable breed. 
In 1942 he underwent an operation for removal of eight 
een pieces of chipped bone from his left shoulder but he 
returned to action wrapped like a mummy and rounded 
out thirteen years of pro competition before retiring 
after the 1950 season. He was one of Fordham's "Seven 
Blocks of Granite," and while in college twice asked his 
coach, Jimmy Crowley, about the advisability of shorten 
ing his name to Wojack 

"If you shorten your name, you'll be forgotten," Crow- 
ley advised him. "Keep it as it is and you'll always be 



Certainly no one who ever saw him play will forget 
the name of Wojciechowicz, for he not only was an excep 
tional defensive man, but when spraddling the ball at 
center he had the widest stance ever seen on a football 
field. A Lion teammate, out of curiosity, once measured it 
and found it to be five feet, four inches. 

These Lions of 1940, for all their talent, were no better 
than run-of-the-mine in the league, winding up the season 
with a record of 5-5-1. One of the victories was snatched 
from the Bears with twenty-six seconds remaining, when 
Price fired a long scoring pass to Cardwell. On November 
5, six players were fired in what was termed an "economy 
move" that stirred up quite a furor in the press. 

The unhappy affairs of the season sent "Potsy" Clark 
on his way again, and Bill Edwards came in as coach, but 
the change was not for the better. The Lions continued 
to backslide in 1941 and reached their low point in history 
in 1942 when they lost all of their eleven games. Edwards 
was dismissed in October, but the slide continued under 
John "Bull" Karcis, who had played with the Dodgers, 
Pittsburgh, and the Giants. 

It long had been Mandel's desire to lure Charles E. 
"Gus" Dorais away from the University of Detroit, where 
he had served eighteen years as head coach and athletic 
director, to take over as head coach of the Lions. He suc 
ceeded early in 1943 when the man who co-starred with 
Knute Rockne at Notre Dame began a five-year tenure 
in the office that had been tossed about like a hot potato 
since the Lions were organized. Under Dorais' leadership 
the Lions not only picked up but so did their attendance, 
a tribute to the coach's tremendous popularity in Detroit. 

Sparking the Lions of ? 43 and 7 44 was the great Georgia 



All American, Frank Sinkwich, who dominated the league 
in almost every statistical phase, winning the most-valu 
able-player trophy in his second year. Dorais' first Lions 
won three and lost six, reversing the record the next sea 
son. There was still greater improvement in 1945 when 
they won seven and lost three, being nosed out of the 
division title by the Rams in the last two weeks of the 
season. Bob Westfall at fullback, Emil Uremovich at 
tackle, and Bill Radovich at guard were selected on most 
all-star compilations. 

The two burly linemen had rejoined the Lions after 
the start of the season, following terms in military service, 
and in a game against the Yanks in the snow, rain, sleet, 
and mud of Boston's Fenway Park had put to good use a 
few of the commando tactics they had learned. 

The field was deep in mud and after Boston had 
scored, Augie Lio, a former Lion guard, attempted the 
try for point from the worst of the muck. As the center 
bent over the ball, Radovich and Uremovich, who 
weighed a paltry 260 pounds apiece, plunked their large 
brogans down so that mud and water splashed over the 
ball and into the center's face. The center, naturally, 
protested to the referee, who chided the Lions. 

"We were merely taking a comfortable stance," the two 
culprits assured the official. "There is nothing in the rules 
against that, certainly." 

When the center finally got around to snapping back 
the wet and slippery ball, Lio missed the kick, but the 
Lions were offside, so he had an opportunity to try it over. 
He missed a second time. Later in the game Lio attempted 
a field goal but never even had an opportunity to swing 
his foot. The pass from center had gone astray, a mishap 



that caused Uremovich and Radovich to exchange sly 
winks and to nod their heads knowingly. 

In 1946 the Lions never recovered from a disastrous 
training season. Four players, including Westfall, suffered 
bone fractures and a number of highly touted rookies 
failed to live up to expectations, the result being that the 
Lions took such a nose dive, they won only one game. 
The one victory, however, was over the Steelers at a time 
when they were tied for the Eastern division lead, and in 
achieving it, the Lions stopped Bill Dudley, the league's 
leading ground gainer, with a net advance of 7 yards. 

The next year the Lions switched from their old Notre 
Dame box style of attack to the T-formation, but they 
finished last again with only three victories. As things 
turned out, Mandel and Dorais also were finished. A 
Detroit syndicate headed by D. Lyle Fife purchased the 
club from Mandel and installed "Bo" McMillin as coach. 
The colorful "Bo" even went so far as to change the Lions' 
uniforms from the traditional blue and silver, but not 
even that could stem the tide of defeat. In 1948 the Lions 
finished last for the third straight time. They moved up 
a notch the next year, but a deficit of more than $200,000 
from those three campaigns called for desperate meas 

Edwin J. Anderson, who had become president in 
1949, announced that 1950 would be "the make or break 
year/' the year of decision. The decisions, it turned out, 
were all favorable. First the Lions signed two of the most 
highly publicized collegiate stars huge Leon Hart of 
Notre Dame and smallish Doak Walker of Southern 
Methodist. They also secured Bobby Layne from the 
Yanks in a trade for Camp Wilson; Bob Hoernschemeyer 



was picked up from the All America Conference; and a 
couple of burly young linemen, Thurman McGraw and 
Lou Creekmur, came out of the All-Star game. 

It passed comparatively unnoticed at the time, but 
perhaps the luckiest stroke of all was the signing, as an 
assistant coach, of "Buddy" Parker, who had been turned 
loose by the Cardinals. A year later he was to succeed Mc- 
Millin as head coach and, in 1952, to restore the Lions to 
championship heights they hadn't scaled since 1935. 

Walker had been a sensation in Texas but many felt 
he would be too small for pro football. Doak himself had 
misgivings, for he weighs only a bit more than 170 pounds 
and appears slender. "Everybody looked so big," he re 
calls, "I felt even smaller." 

He needn't have worried. In his first season Walker led 
the league in scoring with 128 points, only 10 short of 
Don Hutson's record, and acquired through 11 touch 
downs 38 extra points and 8 field goals. The next season 
he scored 97 points for third place among the league's 
offensive stars. 

When Parker took command as head coach in 1951, 
one of his first acts was to obtain "Pat" Harder from the 
Cardinals to take over at fullback. That was the step that 
really made the Lions roar. Harder gave the club fullback 
power it had lacked but, far more important, he provided 
blocking that enabled Layne to become one of the league's 
best passers. Bobby, a teammate of Walker's in high 
school in Dallas, had turned pro with the Bears in 1948, 
but got little chance to show his ability since the Bears 
already had Johnny Lujack and Sid Luckman. The next 
year Halas disposed of his contract and not inconsiderable 
salary to the Yanks, who didn't have the material to make 


Doak Walker 



Frank Sinkwich 

Bobby Layne 

Grover "Ox" Emerson 

Earl "Dutch" Clark 

Lloyd Cardwell 

Alex Wojciechowicz 

George Christensen 



G. A. "Dick" Richards 


him a standout. Consequently Layne was forced to wait 
until Haider's protection and a wealth of good receivers 
gave him a chance to prove his worth. He proved particu 
larly dangerous because he could run as well as pass. 

The Lions seemed on the threshold of a division title 
in 1951 until they lost to the Forty-Niners in San Fran 
cisco, 21-17, in the final game of the schedule. They 
started slowly again in 1952, but after two early losses to 
the same troublesome Forty-Niners, began to roll ir 
resistibly toward their destiny. 

One of the reasons was the return, from a second tour 
of duty with the Marines, of Cloyce Box, an end who 
stands 6-4 and weighs 220 pounds. Box was off to a slow 
start, too, because of his rustiness, but once he reached 
the fine edge of condition he scored fifteen touchdowns, a 
performance that took up some of the slack occasioned by 
an injury which kept Walker on the side lines most of the 
season. Luckily, however, Walker was sound for the two 
crucial December afternoons that meant everything. 

The Lions and Rams, the defending champs, finished 
the regular schedule with identical records, forcing a 
play-off for the division title. The game was played in 
Detroit in a freak fog so dense the floodlights atop Briggs 
Stadium were turned on throughout the game. By their 
glare more than 50,000 people, including four scouts 
from the Browns, were able to see what went on. 

The situation was unique. The Lions had beaten the 
Rams twice during the regular season. They also had 
beaten Cleveland twice, once in an exhibition and once in 
a league game. Thus, to win the championship, the Lions 
found themselves in the position of having to beat their 
two most potent rivals, each for the third time within a 



single season. They proved equal to this demanding test. 

They eliminated the Rams, 31-21, as Harder had a 
field day in the murk and haze, given tremendous help 
by a fine line and the defensive end play of Jim Doran. 
Harder scored the first two touchdowns, kicked a 43-yard 
field goal and 4 extra points to account for 19 points. 

The Lions held a 24-7 lead in the fourth period until 
the Rams scored twice in a space of two-and-a-half min 
utes to climb within 3 points of a tie. Center Lavern Tor- 
geson promptly intercepted a Ram pass to take the heat 
off. In the third period the Rams had a first down on the 
Detroit 6, but the Lions' embattled line rose up to stop 
Dan Towler, the Rams' ram, on four plunges. This demon 
stration was but a forerunner of an even more brilliant 
defensive stand the next week that was to insure victory 
over the Browns. 

The Lions were leading the title game, 14-7, early in 
the fourth period when Marion Motley raced 42 yards to 
put the baU on the Detroit 5. Motley took the ball again 
and started wide but was smothered for a 5-yard loss by 
Doran. Otto Graham stepped back to pass, but the onrush- 
ing Lion forwards smeared him on the 22-yard line. Two 
plays later Dick Flanagan intercepted a pass and the 
Browns were licked. 

The first Lion score at Cleveland in the "big one" was 
credited "to Layne on a quarterback sneak after he had 
shot a pass to Bill Swiacki to put the ball in position on 
the 2. Walker tallied later when he broke over the Browns' 
right tackle, veered to his left, and raced 67 yards. Chick 
Jagade plunged 7 yards for Cleveland's score and, after 
the Lions' line had repelled the Browns, Harder kicked a 
field goal of 36 yards to put the Lions safely on the throne. 







DURING ONE football season in the small but thriving city 
of Green Bay, Wisconsin, no less than five women sought 
divorce on the same complaint. Boiled down, it was this: 
"Your honor, my husband has deserted me to follow the 
Packers. He won't stay home/' 

At about the same time a woman lay dead in the 
funeral parlors of Art Schumacher, Green Bay mortician. 
It was a Sunday and the Packers were playing in Boston. 
A phone rang and Schumacher, recognizing the voice, 
said: "I think I can have the body ready by 1:30 P.M." 
There was a pause, then the voice at the other end of the 
line said: "Couldn't you make it 4:30? The broadcast of 
the game will be over by then!" 

These two episodes convey some idea of the fervor 
with which Green Bay and all of the state of Wisconsin 
for that matter regards the Packers, the "big team from 
the little town" that is one of the great powers in profes 
sional football. When the Packers are playing, either at 
home or away, the town turns out or tunes in as the case 



may be. Hunters equip themselves with portable radios 
and set them up in duck blinds, for scaring away the prey 
is preferable to missing any of the football game. Green 
Bay is 90 per cent Catholic and in the churches, from the 
opening to the close of the football season, afternoon 
vespers are canceled by the priests, so no one will miss 
the games. 

Cities the size of Dallas and Boston and Cincinnati 
and St. Louis haven't been able to support pro football. 
Green Bay, with its population of 50,000, not only has 
done so, but continues to do so with a fervor that has en 
abled the club, through a majority of the years, to show a 
profit or at least to break even. Back of this phenomenon 
is a story of fierce civic pride which has made possible the 
fruition of one man's dream. 

The man was christened Earl Lambeau but everyone 
knows him as "Curly." Young Lambeau attended East 
High which, for seven consecutive years, had been beaten 
in football by West High. Then in 1916 Lambeau took 
personal charge of the game. With an exhibition of flaw 
less forward-passing which later was to become the 
devastating weapon of four championship Packer teams, 
"Curly" ran up 35 points against East's perennial oppres 
sors and swept from the high-school sports picture on a 
wave of adulation never quite attained by any other Green 
Bay boy. 

In 1918 Lambeau enrolled at Notre Dame and was 
one of the thirteen players to win a monogram on Knute 
Rockne's first team. He left school in midyear in order to 
undergo an operation at home and never returned to the 
campus. He had been working for many months for the 
Indian Packing Company, and his boss, Frank Peck, 



offered him $250 a month to remain with the firm rather 
than resume his college career. 

"That was more money than I thought there was in the 
world," says "Curly," "so I stayed." 

As the football season neared, Lambeau felt the old 
urge to play. He mentioned it to Peck, saying: "There 
must be a lot of fellows around who feel the same way 
I do. Why don't you provide us with uniforms? We 
could call ourselves the Packers. It would be good ad 

"How much would it cost to outfit a club?" Peck 
asked. Lambeau allowed that according to his figures it 
could be done nicely on $500. Peck agreed to back him to 
that amount, so "Curly," aided by the sports editor of the 
Press-Gazette, George Calhoun, set about lining up 
players from the area, among them Henry "Tubby" Bero 
and Jimmy Coffeen. 

"Everybody played at least fifty minutes," Lambeau 
recalls. "Oh, we did carry a couple of substitutes just in 
case somebody got killed or something, but most of the 
time all the subs did was pass the hat. We didn't have a 
fence around the field and couldn't charge admission, so 
we chiseled from the crowd. We put each gate into a 
bag and stowed it in a safe. At the end of the season we 
split the pot. We each got $16.50." 

That wasn't enough to enable "Tubby" Bero to pay 
for some bridgework that was loosened, the bill for the 
dental repairs amounting to $60. Nevertheless, he willingly 
agreed to play the next season. 

The Packers that first year all but played themselves 
out of opposition. They rolled up tremendous scores 
against teams from Marinette, Menominee., Sheboygan, 



and other nearby cities, winning ten of eleven games and 
scoring 565 points to 18 for the enemy. They were beaten 
for the state title, however, by the Beloit Fairies, 6-0, 
in a game played at Beloit. Twice in one series of downs 
from close in, Lambeau crossed the Beloit goal line, and 
on another occasion he apparently tallied on a long run, 
but each time the play was nullified by a penalty. Cal- 
houn still insists the penalties were not justified. 

The team continued to prosper on the field in '20, and 
in '21 it became a member of the league, the franchise 
being held by J. E. Clair of the Acme Packing Co., but 
during the course of a season in which the team won 
three and lost seven, it was charged the Packers had used 
some ineligible players, so President Joe Carr ordered 
Clair to return the franchise to the league. 

Lambeau was discouraged but undaunted. He deter 
mined to secure the franchise himself at the meeting in 
June of 1922 in the Hollenden Hotel, Cleveland, but there 
was one hitch. He had the $50 required for the franchise, 
but he lacked the money to pay for transportation to 
Cleveland. Word of his plight came to his friend Don 
Murphy. Now Don was proud of his new Marmon auto 
mobile, but he was even prouder of the Packer football 
team; so he sold the Marmon for $1,500, and he and 
"Curly" set off together, returning with the franchise. 

Murphy's reward was permission to appear in a 
Packer game. He wasn't a football player, but he was 
issued a uniform, was in the opening game for the kickoff 
and one play, in which he chanced to help make the 
taclde. He then retired to his role of fan. 

One rainy Sunday late that fall Lambeau and a friend, 
Joe Ordens, who had tried to make ends meet out of their 



own pockets, were about ready to give up and call it 
quits. The team owed $1,600 in back pay, and the cold 
rain that was pouring down meant only a handful of 
fans would turn out for the game with the Duluth Eski 
mos. They were talking over the advisability of canceling 
the game when into the room walked Andy Turnbull, 
publisher of the Press-Gazette. He advised Lambeau to 
play the game, pointing out it would be a fatal error to 
call it off. So the Packers played and won a ball game, 
but lost more money. 

Had that game been canceled, the Packers probably 
would have died in infancy. As it was, Publisher Turnbull 
became more interested than ever. Later in the week he 
called a meeting of civic leaders to discuss the team's 
future. A loan of $2,500 was arranged to take care of the 
club's outstanding debts, and for operating the Packers 
in the season of 1923, the Green Bay Football Corpora 
tion was founded with Turnbull as president. Stock was 
sold at $5.00 a share and each purchaser was given a box 
seat. Before the club played the opening game in '23 there 
was $5,000 in the treasury and more than five hundred 

Leaders in this drive to save the Packers became 
known as "The Hungry Five." In addition to Lambeau 
and Turnbull, they were Dr. W. W. Kelly, Lee Joannes, 
and Gerry Clifford. Joannes served as president for many 
years before becoming chairman of the board. 

In two years following the formation of the corpora 
tion, all indebtedness had been wiped away. And from 
a squad of fourteen men in 1923, Lambeau felt free to 
increase his personnel. Until that time the talent had 
been largely local, the one outsider being Howard "Cub" 



Buck, mighty tackle and field-goal kicker from the Uni 
versity of Wisconsin, who was paid the crushing sum of 
$150 a game. 

As a matter of fact, Lambeau's sense of humor almost 
cost him Buck's services at any price. When "Curly" went 
to talk contract with Buck, he found the big fellow playing 
a part in an amateur theatrical. "Curly" laughed out loud 
when he came on stage. "Cub" located the source of the 
merriment and subsequently gave Lambeau some tragic 
moments before agreeing to sign. 

Jerry Corcoran, who ran the old Columbus Panhan 
dles, tells one classic story about Buck and the rainy 
afternoon when he kicked a phantom field goal to give 
Green Bay a 3-0 decision. 

"It was so dark you could hardly see the players on 
the field," Corcoran chuckles, "and it was raining cats 
and dogs. Buck went back to kick and the officials signaled 
he had made it The game ended a moment later. I didn't 
see the ball go over the crossbar, but it was so dark and 
dismal I wasn't surprised about that. I figured the officials 
were in position to see. In fact, I had almost forgotten 
the incident until one day years later when I encountered 

" Tunny thing about that,' Buck told me. I'll let you 
in on a little secret. The kick was never kicked! The center 
merely went through the motion of passing the ball back, 
the quarterback made believe he caught it and set it 
down, and I went through the motions of kicking. 
Actually, the ball never left the center's hands!' " 

One of the first players brought in from "outside" was 
Francis Earp, a center from Monmouth College who had 
played with the Rock Island Independents. He was 



nicbiamed "J u erW or s^pty "J u " as a shortening for 
"Juggernaut/ 5 which he certainly was. And like many 
another Packer who came along later, Earp remained in 
Green Bay. Today he keeps close to the team, by serving 
as its publicity director. 

Lambeau always made it a point to hire players who 
would enjoy life in a small town. The questionnaire he 
prepared to send to prospective players invariably asked: 
"How much a month does it cost you to live?" Preference 
was given to lads with more conservative tastes. 

Don Hutson, "Lawie" Dilweg, Verne Lewellen, Ted 
Fritsch, Arnie Herber, Joe Laws, Charley Brock, "Boob" 
Darling, Tony Canadeo these are but a few of the 
Packers who remained in Green Bay or environs after 
putting away their football pads. Dilweg and Lewellen 
were rivals for election as district attorney at a time when 
they were teammates on the Packers. In election week 
they flipped a coin to see which would have his picture 
on the cover of the game program. 

The town of Green Bay all but packs the Packers 
away in moth balls nightly. It sees to it they're in bed 
early and at practice on time. From August 1 until Christ 
mas, the Packers come first and business second. 

There was a brief period just after World War II when 
this wasn't quite the case, however. Lambeau at that time 
arranged the purchase of Rockwood Lodge, an elaborate 
place on a 100-acre tract overlooking the waters of Green 
Bay, but well removed from town. The players lived and 
ate there, and in consequence the townsfolk saw but 
little of them in comparison with the old days. Still, al 
though it divorced the team from the town to some extent 
until it was destroyed by fire in 1950, Rockwood Lodge 



helped save the Packers during the war between the 

When the moneyed men of the All America Confer 
ence and National League began trying to outbid one 
another for talent, Green Bay was at a great disadvantage. 
A spectator fell from the grandstand in 1933 and a resultant 
lawsuit had forced the club to reorganize and conduct 
another drive for money among the citizens. Rallying 
from that, the Packers were substantially on their feet 
when the All America Conference threat developed, but 
they were not so wealthy they could afford to throw money 
around promiscuously. 

It was in this crisis that Lambeau tried to sell 
prospective players on Rockwood Lodge. He'd point out 
how costly it was to live in hotels in big cities and to eat 
in restaurants. At Rockwood the player lived and ate at 
the club's expense from the start of training until the end 
of the season. Why, a boy could save a fortune that way, 
even if his weekly wage was less than it might be else 

Indeed, 'tis said that Walt Schlinkman, a good full 
back, almost did. He was a lad who shunned the bright 
lights and whose dissipation consisted of an occasional 
movie. During the season he would live at Rockwood and 
draw only about a dollar a day from his pay for incidental 
expenses. The rest went into his sock. 

The lure of big salaries available elsewhere cost the 
Packers many of the "name" players they had drawn in 
the draft but whom they couldn't afford at the market 
price. And as the Packers fell into losing ways, friction 
began to develop between Lambeau and the executive 
committee headed by President Emil R. Fischer. The 



trouble was intensified when Lambeau brought in George 
Strickler, able Chicago newspaperman and former pub 
licity director for the league, to replace Calhoun, who was 
in poor health. 

The schism grew wider and wider until in February, 
1950, Lambeau resigned, saying he could not subscribe 
to the policies under which the team was being operated. 
And as he departed, Gerry Clifford, who had been closely 
allied with "Curly" through his thirty-one years with the 
team, said: "If Lambeau had stayed for two more years, 
we would have gone completely busted." 

But regardless of what opinions Green Bay has of 
Lambeau today and they're myriad the fact remains 
that he made the Packers, the most unique team in big- 
time sports history. 






IN THE FIRST YEAR of the Packers' existence "Curly" Lam- 
beau learned a lesson that was, in a way, to revolutionize 
the game of football. Green Bay was cast against Iron 
Mountain, and the players might better have been casting 
themselves against an iron mountain than against the 
players representing the town. One after another of the 
Packer backfield men was injured and the limited supply 
was running dangerously low. Lambeau promptly decided 
to take to the air lanes rather than to run the team to 
death along the ground. 

"Why beat your brains out running against a pro line," 
he reasoned, "when you can throw the football around 
and save your players? It's better business to pass the 
ball. And better show business, too." 

Thus did Lambeau reverse his field. The normal foot 
ball offense up to that moment consisted of a strong 
running attack supplemented by passing. Lambeau made 
passing his basic attack and supplemented it with run 
ning. The results were revolutionary. 



"Curly" also was one of the first coaches to do his job 
from the rooftops, or from somewhere approximating that 
location. He would station himself in the upper deck of 
the grandstand and run his club through telephonic com 
munication with the bench. Not infrequently he would 
punctuate his directives with explosions such as the one 
he shouted to "Red" Smith, his assistant. 

"No, no, no .... not that . . . ." he screamed. "Do you 
realize, Smith, that you are losing the game?" 

It is a matter of dispute whether he or George Halas 
originated the business of scouting from the upper deck, 
but there can be no argument as to which was the more 
embarrassed by it. Lambeau won the honors hands down. 

The incident occurred in New York. The Packers were 
playing the Giants and Lambeau decided his place was 
in the press box which, at the Polo Grounds, is a goodly 
hike if you're not a mountain goat or something akin 
thereto. The clubhouse, just off street level, is a far cry 
from the eagles' perch beneath the roof, but "Curly" 
decided he should watch the first half from high aloft, 
then dash to the dressing room with information that 
would make the second half easy for the Packers. To in 
sure his making the trip on schedule, he even timed him 
self. He clocked the journey in four minutes flat, then 
allowed himself five minutes just on the off chance he'd 
get caught in the crowds making for the rest rooms or 
refreshment stands. 

His strategy was perfect except for one small flaw he 
got lost en route. Jammed in the milling throng he reached 
ground level far behind schedule. Worse, he found the 
exit door locked. By the time he could locate a policeman, 
approach the clubhouse from outside the park, and have 



himself hoisted so he could look into the barred window, 
he had time only to deliver the shortest half-time speech 
of his career. "Good luck, fellows/' he shouted to his 
Packers as they trooped back onto the playing field. 

Probably only one coach had a more disheartening 
experience with second-story involvements. That was 
"Lone Star" Dietz. The astute Indian sent his Boston Red 
skins against the Giants one afternoon and had determined 
that the best strategy would be to kick off and then try 
to take possession of the ball deep in Giant territory. 

In pre-game discussion he gave explicit instructions 
for the Redskins to kick off. Then he trotted off the field 
and started his climb to a box in the upper deck which 
had been wired for sound. As he reached it and looked 
down upon the field, he saw his men lined up in receiving 
formation. Quickly he grabbed the phone. 

"I told you to kick," he barked. "What the hell's the 
matter with you? Don't receive .... kick .... kick!" 

As he paused for breath he heard the voice of his as 
sistant on the bench saying: "We did kick. The score is 
7-0. Harry Newman ran the kick back 94 yards!" 

Lambeau, for all his inventive talents and football 
instinct, required almost a decade to produce a champion. 
He did it in 1929 with a group that had as its nucleus 
Lewellen, Dilweg, "Red" Dunn, "Bo" Molenda, Earp, and 
Eddie Kotal, a half-pint halfback from Lawrence. But 
what really made the team was a trio he had the wisdom 
to acquire from other National League teams. The three 
were Johnny Blood, "Mike" Michalske, and Cal Hubbard. 
None could have been better at his chosen position and 
none could have been better than each one was during 
his career as a Packer. 



Michalske, small for a guard, was none the less one of 
the finest of all time. Hubbard's feats at tackle and end 
are legend. And Blood could be a book in himself. His 
real name was John McNally, and he might have been 
one of the great stars of Notre Dame history had he not 
had an aversion, at the time, to academic regimentation. 
He took off from the campus one day by motorcycle to 
celebrate St. Patrick's Day as only an Irishman can. He 
never returned. 

One week end he and another collegiate athlete who 
was not averse to picking up some side money on Sunday 
were booked for a pro contest but had no idea what 
names to assume for the occasion. The night before the 
game the two chanced to pass a theater that was showing 
Rudolph Valentino's latest movie, Blood and Sand. 

"That's it!" Johnny shouted gleefully. "You'll be Sand 
and I'll be Blood." 

And so he was Blood through fifteen years, scattered 
among Milwaukee, Pottsville, Duluth, Green Bay, and 
Pittsburgh. He had a flair for the bizarre and unexpected, 
both on and off the field. How else can one account for 
the fact that in 1949 he returned to college to receive a 
degree and that today he is a full-fledged professor of 
economics and author of a book on the subject? 

Standing better than six feet and weighing close to 
200 pounds, Blood was a murderous off-tackle slasher and 
a ghost once he broke into the open because he was so 
breathtakingly fast and elusive. In his heyday no one 
could compare with him as a pass catcher, for he could 
leap like a high jumper and had the unusual knack of 
timing his leaps so that he could catch the ball and come 
down running. 



Johnny once won a game for the Packers with a play 
that wasn't even in the book. He invented it on the spot 
He was supposed to fake to the fullback and hand off to 
the halfback or vice versa. He did neither. Instead, he 
faked to both, then ran for the touchdown himself. 

Once, on a play starting from scrimmage on his own 
20-yard line, he ripped through the line, broke into the 
open, and dodged one tackier after another until he had 
a clear field to a touchdown. But the run suddenly ceased 
to be fun and Johnny stopped near the enemy 10-yard 
line and looked around for a teammate, intending to toss 
a lateral pass and let the other fellow make the score. 
But opponents caught up with him first, so Blood, sorely 
disappointed, resumed his journey, carrying several tack- 
lers across the goal line to climax what undoubtedly was 
the strangest run in National League history. 

They called Blood "The Vagabond Halfback" and his 
wanderings off the field were as startling as his travels 
with a football tucked under one arm. A night-club master 
of ceremonies whom he had been heckling challenged him 
to "come on up and see if you can do better," so Johnny 
took over the microphone and panicked the house. Once 
he climbed through the window of a speeding train, 
crawled over the tops of the cars and into the engine cab, 
scaring the engineer and fireman half to death. 

On one occasion the Packers were given a royal send- 
off from Green Bay when they departed for the "big" 
game with the Bears in Chicago, but Lambeau couldn't 
enjoy it because Blood was nowhere to be found. A short 
while later the train stopped suddenly far out in the coun 
try, and the Packers looked out to see why the unsched 
uled halt in the middle of nowhere. 



There was Johnny Blood. He had driven his auto onto 
the railroad tracks and flagged down the train. The car 
was pushed from the rails, and Blood happily joined his 
teammates to battle the big, bad Bears. 

Lambeau realized it was useless to try to contain 
Blood's enthusiasm by the usual club rules, but at times 
he delegated to one player or another the assignment of 
making sure Blood was at a certain place at a certain 
time. One evening in Boston, Lambeau instructed Lou 
Gordon, huge tackle who played for years with the Car 
dinals, Packers, and Bears, to have Blood aboard the train 
when the Packers left. Failure was to cost Gordon $250. 

Lou got Blood as far as the station without an argu 
ment but then the unpredictable Johnny decided he'd 
prefer to remain in Boston. Lou saw $250 taking wing 
from his pocket, so swung a magnificent right squarely to 
Blood's jaw. Then he and Howie Levitas, the equipment 
manager, carted Blood aboard the train and into Lam- 
beau's drawing room. "Here he is," Gordon grunted, toss 
ing the inert Blood into the lap of the startled coach. 

Blood and Carl Lidberg scored the touchdowns that 
gave the Packers a 14-0 victory in the opening game of 
1929 and started them on the highroad to their first cham 
pionship. They won it with a record of twelve victories, 
one tie, and no defeats the first team to go unbeaten 
through a pro campaign since Canton did it in 1923. 
What made the Packers' achievement especially note 
worthy was the fact that they were forced to play their 
last eight games on the road and at one stretch played 
three games in eight days with a seventeen-man squad. 

Of all the victories the closest was over the Cardinals, 
whom they nosed out 7-6, when Ernie Nevers missed his 



conversion attempt. The most satisfying were two over 
the hated Bears, one o which wound up in a flurry of 
fisticuffs between Hubbard and a Bear player. 

This particular Bear, a huge fellow, was frequently 
embroiled in such affairs. He and a teammate seldom saw 
eye to eye, and once in a game against the Packers they 
began to swing punches at one another. The ruckus 
brought Lambeau rushing onto the field claiming the 
Bears should be given a 15-yard penalty because there had 
been slugging. Referee "Bobie" Cahn quietly informed 
him that while it was illegal to punch an opponent, there 
was nothing in the rulebook about popping a teammate 
on the nose. 

The game that gave the Packers a national reputa 
tion, however, was played against the Giants in New 
York. The Packers had won nine straight, the Giants had 
won eight and tied one, and with Benny Friedman pass 
ing were rated strong favorites, especially since "Red" 
Dunn was out of the Green Bay line-up with injuries. 
But the big boys from the little town were not to be in 
timidated by odds or reputations. They won easily, 20-6, 
to capture the imagination and respect of New York's mil 
lions. They did it with an iron-man performance that saw 
the starting eleven play as a unit for fifty-nine minutes. 
Then, in the closing sixty seconds of play, Paul Minick 
replaced Jim Bowdoin at right guard. "Oh, how we hated 
to see him come in," recollects "Jug" Earp. 

That was the beginning of a three-year reign for the 
Packers, an achievement that no team had accomplished 
before and which no National League team has been able 
to match since. 

Rolling along into the season of 1930, the Packers ran 



up a string of twenty-two consecutive games without a 
defeat until, on November 16, they encountered Ernie 
Nevers on one of his greatest days. Thanks to Ernie, the 
Cardinals won, 13-6. Later the Packers lost two more and 
tied one that season, but managed to nose out the Giants 
once again for the title. 

In 1931 they did even better, winning twelve and 
losing only two, to edge Portsmouth in the final standing. 
Two close victories over the Bears were vital to that title 
march. The first was registered by 7-0, thanks to a suc 
cession of Chicago fumbles. The second was achieved by 
the peculiar score of 6-2 when Hubbard tackled a Bear 
back hard enough to cause a fumble, which Michalske 
picked up and carried 80 yards to a touchdown. 

What made the second and third titles more enjoyable 
was the fact that a Green Bay boy had a hand in fashion 
ing them. His name was Arnie Herber and he had starred 
at West High. He had spent a freshman year at Wisconsin, 
then moved to Regis College for a stretch before return 
ing home to serve as a sort of general handy man around 
the Packer clubhouse. Lambeau liked the way the lad 
could throw a football for great distances and felt he 
would prove a good gate attraction because of his home 
town background. 

The players had hung the nickname of "Dummy" on 
Herber and Lambeau didn't like it. One day before prac 
tice he sent Herber to town on a phony errand and while 
he was gone called a squad meeting. "Curly" declared that 
anyone who used that nickname in the future would draw 
an automatic fine of $100. The name was dropped, and 
Herber studied diligently under Lambeau to become one 
of the great passers in footbalL 






IT WAS "Curly" Lambeau's custom during those years 
when the Packers first crashed the nation's sports picture 
on a grand scale to scout personally for player talent at 
the annual East-West game staged by the Shrine for the 
benefit of its hospital for crippled children. His visit to 
San Francisco for this New Year's epic in 1932 was highly 
productive and might have been much more so. He ac 
quired Clarke Hinkle of Bucknell, probably the only man 
who ever won a bumping match from Bronko Nagurski, 
but he ignored the plea of another member of the East 
squad, a barrel-chested, bristle-headed chap who asked 
him: "How about taking me, too, coach?" 

Lambeau never has forgiven himself for that negative 
headshake. The boy he spurned was Bill Hewitt, who 
joined the Bears to become one of football's greatest ends, 
"Curly" scored a ten-strike with Hinkle, however. 
Hinkle wasn't especially large but he was especially 
rugged and good. He stood 5-11 and weighed about 195 
pounds, but he had tremendous acceleration and power 



and for a decade was one of the fearsome fullbacks in the 
league. Twice he led the league in field goals, once he 
was its leading scorer. He tallied 42 touchdowns and 
rolled up 3,860 yards in 1,171 attempts. 

His first decision over Nagurski came in a game at 
Green Bay when the two fullbacks crashed head-on. 
Hinkle's headgear hit the "Bronk" squarely in the face, 
smashing his nose. Their classic meeting took place a few 
years later in Chicago. 

The ball was in play near mid-field and Hinkle burst 
through a hole in the middle of the line like a cork pop- 
ping out of a champagne bottle. Nagurski, backing up the 
middle, hurtled in to stop him. Now it was Bronko's 
custom, when on such an errand, to throw a vicious block 
rather than to attempt a routine tackle. He figured in 
this way to bowl the ball carrier over backward and pos 
sibly to cause a fumble. Hinkle recoiled as expected but 
didn't go down. Instead he flew backward some five yards 
through the air, landed upright with his legs churning, 
and bolted right back through the same hole for a touch 
down run of half the length of the field. 

"It was the only time in my life," recalls George Musso, 
the Bear guard, "when a back went past me three times 
on a single play." 

At the close of one of their championship seasons, 
Pete Smith took the Packers to Hollywood to record some 
of their football feats on film in the form of a short fea 
ture. Herber displayed his passing proficiency by throw 
ing the ball into a bushel basket; then Hinkle stepped up 
to demonstrate his punting skill. The script called for him 
to angle a punt out-of-bounds on the 1-yard line where a 
camera was set up behind a pane of glass. 



On his first attemp Hinkle sent the ball spiraling 
smack into the glass, shattering it. But the photographers, 
in true movie tradition, didn't have their cameras grind 
ing. They had figured he needed at least a few rehearsals. 

Despite the addition of Hinkle and the development 
of Berber, the Packers slipped into a minor depression 
from which they emerged in 1936 with another champion 
ship. That they finally won their fourth title and were 
in the championship scramble for many years thereafter 
was due to slender, fleet-footed, glue-fingered Don Hut- 
son, the finest pass catcher football has produced. 

Lambeau found him, as he did Hinkle, during a post 
season trip to the Pacific Coast. As was his custom, Lam- 
beau dropped around to Brookside Park in Pasadena to 
watch the invading team work out in preparation for the 
Rose Bowl game. On this late December day, 1934, how 
ever, "Curly" found himself barred from the park along 
with all other casual observers inasmuch as Alabama was 
holding a secret practice. 

Undismayed, Lambeau climbed over the fence, tearing 
his pants in the process. Gendarmes grabbed him and 
were hustling him to the exits when Frank Thomas, the 
Alabama coach, saw his plight and came to his rescue. 
"Curly" stayed to watch the balance of practice. 

His attention immediately became attracted by a ball 
carrier who cut beautifully into a hole. The runner was 
Hutson, executing an end-around. "Curly" long had been 
on the lookout for a back who could cut like that, and he 
actually didn't realize Hutson was an end rather than a 
halfback until Don began catching passes in the Rose 
Bowl. Then it dawned on him what a wonderful target 
Hutson would make for Herbert passes. 



Coveting Hutson and landing him in Green Bay were 
two vastly different matters, lie soon discovered. Hutson 
informed "Curly" that he had a tentative agreement with 
"Shipwreck" Kelly to sign with Brooklyn, but that merely 
stirred Lambeau to greater heights of persuasiveness. 

"Look/' he argued. "We are a passing team. Brooklyn 
relies on power. You can't block and, besides, you're too 
small for that type of football. You wouldn't last two 
weeks with Brooklyn. We have Arnie Herber, the greatest 
passer in football, and our attack is built around passing. 
With us you'll be a star." 

Hutson saw the logic behind those words, but said he 
would have to notify Kelly. When he had heard nothing 
from Kelly after a reasonable lapse of time, Hutson affixed 
his signature to a Packer contract. Scarcely had he done 
so, however, than in rushed Kelly, who had grabbed a 
plane in a frantic effort to stave off the Green Bay threat 
He persuaded Hutson to sign, too. 

When the two contracts, each properly signed, reached 
the office of Joe Carr, the smart old league president, who 
had been contending with such matters for years, studied 
the postmarks on the envelopes. Lambeau's letter was 
dated an hour earlier than Kelly's. Hutson therefore was 
awarded to Green Bay. 

In the second game of the 1935 season, the Bears 
kicked off to Herber, who was downed on the Packer 
17-yard line. Herber barked his signals and dropped 
back to throw a pass. The Bears converged to smother 
Johnny Blood, all but ignoring Hutson. The fleet rookie 
ran straight past Beattie Feathers in mid-field, fielded a 
perfect over-the-shoulder pass from Herber, and was off 
for the only touchdown of the game. 



From that moment until the day he retired following 
the 1946 season, Don Hutson kept catching passes and 
scoring touchdowns, to say nothing of kicking field 
goals and extra points. Eight times in eleven years he was 
the league's best pass receiver, gaining 8,010 yards by 
aerials alone. He caught 489 passes, in all, for 101 touch 
downs. He scored in forty-one consecutive games and 
for five years in succession was both the leading pass 
catcher and leading scorer. He was All-League at left end 
by acclamation throughout his career. 

Of all his many football games, Hutson personally 
derived the most satisfaction from a 1943 tiff with the 
Giants. He caught seven passes, two of them for touch 
downs, but the big thrill came from a reversal of roles 
that saw Hutson throw a pass for a touchdown! With the 
ball on the New York 38-yard line, Tony Canadeo took a 
direct pass from center, handed off to Tony Falkenstein, 
who gave the ball to Hutson on what seemed to be an 
end-around. But Don stopped and fired a pass to Harry 
Jacunski in the end zone. 

The men who, along with Hutson, brought the 1936 
championship to Green Bay included Herber and HinWe, 
Blood, Bob Monnett, George Sauer, Joe Laws, and Hank 
Bruder in the backfield; Milt Gantenbein at end; and 
such linemen as George Svendsen, Lon Evans, Ernie 
Smith, Champ Seibold, "Tar" Schwammel, "Buckets" 
Goldenberg, "Tiny" Engebretsen, and Lou Gordon. They 
lost one game, to the Bears, and whipped Boston in the 
play-off, 21-6, with Herber throwing touchdowns to Hut- 
son and Gantenbein, and Monnett plunging 2 yards for 
the other score. Two years later, with the addition of Bill 
Lee, Russ Letlow, and the Mulleneaux brothers, Lee and 



Carl, in the line, and Cecil Isbell and Andy Uram in the 
backfield, the Packers again won the divisional crown, 
only to lose to the Giants in the play-off. 

In 1939, en route to another title, the Packers were 
playing the Cardinals at Wrigley Field and a Chicago 
punt had been downed on the Green Bay 3-yard line just 
in front of the goal posts. Herber wanted to punt but 
was afraid the ball might strike the crossbar, so he called 
Andy Uram's number for a wide run. 
"Just run it for position/' he instructed. 

Andy ran, not for position but for a touchdown. That 
97-yard gallop from scrimmage stood as a league record 
until ten years later, when Bob Gage of the Steelers 
matched it in a game against the Bears. 

The championship game of 1939 gave the Packers an 
opportunity to exact vengeance on the Giants. It was 
played in Milwaukee's State Fair Park and the transfer 
to that more or less neutral site created a tremendous 
stir in Green Bay; but a fans' move to boycott the game 
in protest died aborning, and the rooters from the north- 
land swarmed down on Milwaukee in droves. 

Gantenbein opened the scoring by taking a 7-yard 
pass from Herber while the Giants were blanketing Hut- 
son. Engebretsen kicked a 29-yard field goal in the third 
period, and later in the same quarter Isbell passed to 
Laws for a touchdown. Ernie Smith's 42-yard field goal 
and a short touchdown plunge by Eddie Jankowski com 
pleted the scoring as the Packers took a 27-0 decision. 

The Packers were so good on this occasion that George 
Halas admitted they could have beaten any team in the 
land, including his Bears an amazing admission, for 
Halas normally can see nothing good about Green Bay. 



For the next four years the Packers were forced to 
play second fiddle to the Bears, chasing them right down 
to the wire each season, so it wasn't until '44 that Green 
Bay won its sixth world's championship. 

In the line old "Buckets" Goldenberg was still doing 
a bang-up job at guard, and Buford "Baby" Ray and 
Charley Brock were tremendous at tackle and center. 
Irv Comp had succeeded Herber and Isbell as the Pack 
ers' passing expert; and Ted Fritsch, Joe Laws, Lou Brock, 
and Larry Craig carried the heavy work on offense. 

Once again the Giants provided the opposition in the 
title game and this time there was an odd twist to the 
script in that Herber was cast in the role of an enemy, 
He was rounding out a long career by pitching touch 
downs for the Giants. He threw one in the title game, too, 
but it wasn't enough to defeat his old teammates, who 
won 14r-7. 

It might have beaten them had it not been for Laws 
who, at the ripe football age of thirty-three, played the 
greatest game of his career. Laws got the first score of the 
day under way when he ran 15 yards to the New York 
23. From there the bull-like Fritsch thundered to the 
1, then he scored. An 11-yard punt return by Laws got 
the Packers in motion again, Comp passing to Fritsch for 
26 yards and a touchdown as the Giants covered Hutson 
with three men and let the big fullback get into the clear. 

And so ended, for the time being at least, the cham 
pionship saga of the little town in the big league. But 
although the Packers' fortunes waned on the field and 
their fortune dwindled under the impact of the financial 
war with the All America Conference, the people of 
Green Bay stood loyally behind the team. A huge deficit, 


Clarke Hinkle 



Tony Canadeo 

Don Hutson 

Earl "Curly" Lambeau 

Lavern "Lavvie" Dilweg 

Arnie Herber 

August "Mike" Michalske 



Cal Hubbard 

Charles "Buckets" Goldenberg 

Howard "Cub" Buck 

Cecil Isbell 

Verne Lewellen 


incurred during the 1949 season, was erased by an intra- 
squad game on Thanksgiving Day which drew 15,000 
and a gate of $42,714 on a windy, snowy day. 

That insured operation in 1950, but to put the club 
on a sounder financial footing, another public sale of stock 
was launched, with non-profit shares offered at $25. The 
response was even more overwhelming than it had been 
in 1923. The Packers were saved for Green Bay. 

The town had its heroes during the lean years, and 
the greatest of these was Tony Canadeo, "The Gray Ghost 
of Gonzaga," so-called because his hair was prematurely 
streaked with silver even before he completed his col 
legiate career. Canadeo was a terrific all-round player 
with a flaming competitive spirit that reached its peak 
twice yearly in the games with the Bears. Tony cried after 
every Bear game either from joy or heartache. 

In a game against the Yanks in the Polo Grounds in 
1949, Canadeo swung wide around end and was piled up 
under a swarm of tacklers near the side line. One by one 
the burly Yanks got up off the pile, revealing Canadeo. 
Carl Rebele, one of the officials, helped him to his feet say 
ing: "Oh, are you still here? Aren't you a little old to be 
messing around in this?" 

Canadeo started away, then whirled and thrust his 
face close to Rebele's. "I may be a little old," he barked, 
"but I can see better than some people on this field!" 

Another latter-day Packer who was apart from the 
crowd was Ed Neal, a giant of a man who played at tackle, 
guard, and center. He was a blacksmith and an expert in 
forging oil-well drills, but despite his size and amazing 
strength he was skilled at repairing watches, radios, and 
similar items requiring a fine, deft touch. 



As a demonstration of his strength he had a trick of 
breaking a coke bottle over his forearm. One day at Rock- 
wood Lodge, some workmen were busy tryipg to keep 
anchored in the bay the pipes which drew water for 
sprinkling the gridirons. 

"That's not the way to do it," Neal said. "Ill show you 
liow." Selecting some one-inch steel bars, he bent them 
over his knee, placed them on cradles, and fastened the 
pipe so solidly it still is in place. 

It was Neal's very strength that was his weakness. 
He could have been a great football player had he not 
been afraid of hurting someone. Only once was he truly 
aroused. That was against the Eagles, who had released 
him and toward whom he had a grudge. Neal got into 
the game at a time when the Eagles had the ball on their 
own 20-yard line. On the first play he tossed the center 
into Tommy Thompson, the quarterback, who had to be 
taken from the game. On the next play he did the same 
thing, putting Al Sherman on the shelf. On the third play 
he upended a third quarterback and fell on him in the 
end zone for a safety. 

When "Curly" Lambeau quit in 1950, a few days after 
Rockwood Lodge the symbol of his split with the Green 
Bay fans burned to the ground, the Packers again looked 
close to home for a coach. They selected Gene Ronzani 
of Iron Mountain, Michigan. Ronzani, a backfield star 
with the Bears and long-time coaching aide of Halas, is 
especially adroit at handling young men and promptly 
set about to rebuild with youth. In Tobin Rote and Vito 
"Babe" Parilli he acquired skilled T-formation quarter 
backs, and in 1952 the Packers began to climb. The little 
town seemed on its way to big things once again, 







THE NEW YORK GIANTS had their inception in a protest 
registered by a mail carrier who couldn't obtain tickets 
for the Army-Navy football game in 1924. The complaint 
was voiced to Dr. Harry A. March, one of the most rabid 
early advocates of what he preferred to call "postgraduate 

"Out in Ohio, where I come from/' Dr. March told the 
mailman, "we have some fine professional elevens which 
play on Sundays." 

The mail carrier was impressed. After all, he couldn't 
take much time off to see football and, as in the case of 
the Army-Navy game, even if he could afford to lay off 
from work, he couldn't get a ticket. "Hah!" he enthused. 
"Put a team like that in New York and you'll make a 

Dr. March, wondering who might be willing to bank 
roll such a venture, thought of Billy Gibson, who man 
aged Gene Tunney, Benny Leonard, and other champion 
boxers, Gibson had been impressed by the drawing power 



of pro football several years before when he had Leonard, 
then the lightweight champion, matched against Art 
Simms in Akron., Ohio, on a Labor Day. The day before 
the fight Leonard acted as head linesman at a football 
game between those bitter rivals, Akron and Canton, 
before a crowd of 12,000. The next day he fought Simms 
before far fewer cash customers. 

Recalling how amazed Gibson had been by these at 
tendance figures, Dr. March summoned Joe Carr, presi 
dent of the National League, and the two of them de 
scended on Gibson's office in the summer of 1925. 

Also en route to Gibson's office, with an eye toward 
buying a piece of Tunney's contract, but late to his ap 
pointment, was Timothy J. Mara, a stately-appearing 
bookmaker who was one of the most familiar and trusted 
figures, around New York race tracks. Because he was 
tardy, he arrived in Gibson's office to find Dr. March and 
Carr discussing pro football with the fight manager. 

"No," Gibson was saying, "I don't want to buy a foot 
ball club and put it in New York." He glanced up as Mara 
walked in and, seeing a chance to end the conversation, 
waved a hand toward the door. 
"But maybe Mr. Mara would," he added. 
Mara didn't know a tackle from a touchdown, but he 
was willing to explore the possibilities. 
"How much?" he asked. 

He was told a franchise could be purchased for 
$2,500. "Well," said Mara, reaching for his checkbook, 
"any New York franchise ought to be worth that much." 
Before his Giants were to make their home debut at 
the Polo Grounds in the fall, however, Mara was to dis 
cover that his investment was far larger than he had 



thought. He hired Bob Folwell, who was leaving the 
Navy, as coach, and before he had even seen a game, he 
had spent almost $25,000 on players, equipment, rental, 
box-office expense, and the like. His first team included 
such players as Jim Thorpe, Joe Alexander, Lynn Bomar, 
Heinie Benkert, Arthur Carney, "Babe" Parnell, "Nasty" 
Nash, Joe Williams, Century Milstead, "Dutch" Hen- 
drian, and Jack McBride. 

Mara was a real football fan by the time he had lined 
up his squad. When Thorpe plowed straight ahead for 
4 yards in the opening game, Tim beamed. "Isn't that 
the greatest run you ever saw?" he demanded, and won 
dered at the snickers. 

The season advanced and, with but one home game 
remaining on the schedule, Mara's ideas of football as a 
means to quick wealth had been dissipated. The club was 
$40,000 in the hole. He could think of only one salvation 
to fight red ink with a redhead and hire the most famous 
"Red" of the day Grange. Forthwith he set out for the 
campus of the University of Illinois, but C. C. Pyle and 
Halas had beaten him to the punch. Still, it was Grange 
who was to pull the Giants out of the financial mire. 

When Grange and the Bears came east for the first 
time, New York was wild in anticipation. Mara printed 
70,000 tickets, and despite rain only 5,000 remained un 
sold the day before the game. The turnstile count for the 
game was 65,000, and although the Bears won, 14-7, 
the fans were happy, for they had seen Grange run for 
a touchdown. Mara was happy, too, for when he left the 
countinghouse, he knew his deficit had vanished and the 
Giants were in the clear by some $18,000. 

Through the decades that followed, Tim Mara con- 



tinued to maintain the Giants as a profitable business 
operation, and although he long ago turned over the 
actual direction of the team to his capable sons, John and 
Wellington, he has remained a tremendous power in 
National Football League councils. 

Shortly before the clash with the Bears, the Giants 
had defeated the Kansas City Cowboys, 9-3. There was 
nothing notable about the game save that it marked the 
first time Steve Owen had seen New York and vice versa. 
They've been inseparable almost ever since, although 
neither Owen nor the Giants realized at the time that 
this was to be. To the Giants at that moment Owen was 
merely another big, rough tackle from the West. 

Fate apparently ordained Owen to be a Giant. The 
Cowboys closed the season of 1925 in the East, and in 
stead of grabbing a fast train for his home in Oklahoma, 
Owen went barnstorming. The junket ended in Cleve 
land and from there Steve and Dave Noble, a teammate, 
started homeward in Noble's auto. In Illinois they en 
countered heavy snow that slowed their progress. In Iowa 
they ran into a blizzard that stopped them completely. 

Owen was wearing a light topcoat and low shoes. 
With the car stalled on a country road in deep drifts 
he and his pal were in immediate danger of freezing to 

"Come on," he urged, let's get out of here. WeVe 
got to find a farmhouse in a hurry." 

Noble agreed, but he was limping because of a lame 

ankle, and soon he found the going too rough. He sagged 

down in the snow. Owen picked him up and staggered 

on until he spotted the lights of a farmhouse. 

"Open up," Steve roared, beating on the door, and in 



a few minutes they were thawing out beside the kitchen 
stove while tossing off cups of steaming hot coffee. 

Next morning the storm abated, and the farmer 
hitched up a team of horses and pulled Noble's car out 
of the drifts. Steve left Noble in Wichita, intending to 
make the rest of the journey home by train, but in the 
station he met "Dutch" Hill, who was rushing to Western 
Union to accept an offer to play a series of exhibition 
games with the Giants in Florida. 
"Tell 'em I'm available, too," Steve said. 

And so it came about that a few days later Owen 
found himself in the Florida sunshine, playing football 
with the Giants. He must have played a lot of football, 
for the next fall the Giants purchased his contract from 
Kansas City for $500. He's been with the Giants ever 
since, and that player pact was the only one he's ever 
had with them, for during his more than two decades as 
coach he's never had a contract. 

Milstead, ex-Yale All American, and other members 
of the 1926 Giants gave the country boy from Oklahoma 
a good-natured ribbing at first, but he started at tackle 
in an exhibition game in Trenton, New Jersey. The tem 
perature was in the nineties and the heat was on the 
rookie in more ways than one. By the end of the first half 
Steve was the only one who had breath enough to speak. 
The other players weren't in shape. Steve was, and he 
kept asking his new teammates innocently: "What's 

The Giants always initiated their rookies the hard 
way to prove their mettle. Some ten years later, when 
Orville Tuttle reported to the club, he slipped his college 
fraternity grip to "Butch" Gibson, then one of the best 



guards in the business, as the two shook hands. During 
an ensuing scrimmage Gibson gave Tuttle a severe going- 
over, submitting him to all the indignities and tricks in 
the book. But the moment practice had ended, Gibson 
dashed up to Owen: "Hey, Steve," he enthused, "that 
kid's going to be a great guard." He was. 

Steve Owen, for all his more than a quarter-century 
of life in New York, is still a homely, sagebrush character 
with a round, red, kindly face, a lazy way of speaking, 
a humorous twinkle behind his glasses, and a pinch of 
snuff tucked under his lip. You'd never guess that this 
burly man who looks the part of his team's nickname, once 
had an ambition to be a jockey. 

His father was one of the early settlers in Indian 
Territory, and on Saturdays ranchers from miles around 
would gather for marketing, racing, and wagering. Steve, 
at twelve, was a skilled rider of quarter horses. At one 
stage he won eighteen straight races. 

"The Eddie Arcaro of my day," laughs Steve, who never 
has lost his interest in horses and racing. 

Owen might never have played football if Johnny 
Maulbetsch, Michigan's famous fullback who was coach 
at Phillips University, Enid, Oklahoma, hadn't spotted 
him sitting under a tree on campus, munching an apple, 
and taking life easy. That was in 1918 and Steve was 
enrolled in the SATC program. He had just come off KP 
duty. Maulbetsch was impressed by the Owen physique. 

"You're a nicely built lad," he said. "Why aren't you 
out for football?" 

"I've never played the game," said Steve. 

"Like to try?" asked Maulbetsch. "Come along." 

"That afternoon," says Steve, 'Tie gave me the biggest 



lesson IVe ever learned in football. He took me out on 
the field and began blocking me hard. He was really 
hitting me. I got fired up and hit him back hard. That's 
what he wanted to find out whether I would strike 
back. That* s still the test of a football player how hard 
he wants to hit back." 

Although one of the most successful of coaches over 
the years, Owen claims no strange or exceptional powers. 
'There is no mystery to coaching/' he insists. "You must 
have the horses. The same coach, with material, can win 
a championship one season and then finish last the next 
year without that good material/' 

He has earned his reputation primarily as a defensive 
coach, for he introduced the five-man line and developed 
the famed "umbrella" defense against a passing attack. 
Yet he can fashion an explosive offense when he has a 
mind to. It was he who originated the A-formation in 
which the line shifts one way, the backfield another. It 
gained 365 yards the day he unveiled it against the Red 
skins in 1937. 

Most teams, when they win the toss, elect to receive 
the opening kickoif in an attempt to score early. Owen 
frequently elects to kick off on the theory the other team 
is nervous and inclined to make a serious mistake early 
in the game before it settles down. Games are lost on 
mistakes, he reasons, and the team that makes the fewest 
is going to win. He wants the other fellow to take the 
chances, to be the gambler in desperate situations. 

"The idea is to win," he says. "I would much rather 
win 3-0 than lose, 38-36." 

Only once has an Owen team taken a humiliating 
beating. That was in 1952 when a good Giant team lost 



to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 63-7. But even in this depth 
of adversity Owen didn't lose his sense of humor. 

"It's a good thing I'm known as a defensive genius/* 
he said, "or the score might have been 100-7." 

Owen devised special defensive tactics in an attempt to 
thwart such one-man gangs as Don Hutson and Sammy 
Baugh, and they worked reasonably well. He always 
attempted to force Hutson to break outside to his left, 
toward the side line, so the Packer end would have little 
chance to cut back. He knew he couldn't keep Hutson 
from catching passes, but he could try to prevent his 
running for touchdowns after he caught them. Owen 
also employed an unorthodox method of coping with 
Baugh's passes. Most clubs concentrated on rushing the 
Redskin star; Steve preferred to concentrate on stopping 
the pass receivers. 

"Baugh is so fast in throwing the ball/' he explained, 
"that you waste men rushing him. You've got to cover 
his receivers closely so they cannot gain on those short 
passes. Sam is seldom dangerous on the long ones be 
cause he lofts the ball too high." 

Owen believes in surrounding himself with assistants 
who are constructed along the same blockhouse pattern 
as he. Certainly during the years when two of his top 
aides were Richard "Red" Smith and Jack Lavelle, the 
Giants' coaching staff was the largest in football, if not 
numerically, at least in avoirdupois. Lavelle is still Steve's 
chief scout and works hand-in-glove with the boss in 
plotting those sturdy Giant defenses. 

Early in the 1952 season when Hugh McElhenny, 
brilliant rookie halfback of the San Francisco Forty- 
Niners, was terrorizing the league, Lavelle was dis- 



patched to scout the team from the Golden Gate. On 
his return he reported to Steve: c Tve figured out a way 
to stop McEIhenny, but I can't do anything about Joe 
Arenas and Joe Perry." Perry was the San Francisco 
fullback and Arenas the other halfback. 

"Why can't you defense against them?" Owen de 
manded, puzzled. 

"Because of the rules," Lavelle retorted. 'The book 
says we can use only eleven men at one time. I have them 
all assigned to stopping McElhenny." 

The next week the Giants whipped the Forty-Niners, 
23-14, and held McElhenny to a skimpy 4 yards. 

The sport which so many fans find too complex, Owen 
reduces to its simplest terms. In his book, My Kind of 
Football, he declares: "The best offense can be built 
around ten basic plays. Defense can be built on two. All 
the rest is razzle-dazzle, egomania and box office." 





THE NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS began to assume their 
true stature in 1927. They did so by allowing only 20 
points to be scored against them in thirteen games and 
then winning the crown by outsmarting the Bears 
in what Steve Owen calls the toughest game he ever 
played. When it was over, he and Jim McMillen, burly 
Bear guard who later became a headline wrestler and 
political figure, were completely exhausted. They shook 
hands while sitting on the ground and then just stared 
at each other, too weary to speak or get to their feet. 

The deception that completely finagled the Bears 
was engineered by Henry "Hinkey" Haines, the quarter 
back. The Giants had halted a Bear thrust led by the 
mighty Bronko Nagurski only one yard from their goal 
line, and Haines promptly sent Faye "Mule" Wilson 
back as though to punt. He carried out the fake to a 
greater extreme by calling for a towel to wipe off the ball 
and cautioning Wilson not to step out of the end zone. 
The Bears dropped two safety men back for the expected 



punt and so were sitting ducks when Haines threw a 
pass to Chuck Corgan, who ran to the Chicago 42-yard 
line. From there the Giants went on to a 13-7 victory. 

Earl Potteiger was coach of this team of defensive 
Giants who rolled up 226 points to the opponents' 20, 
while winning eleven games, losing one, and tying one. 
One of his first acts was to appoint Owen as captain. Four 
years were to elapse, however, before Steve advanced into 
the head coaching role, and in one of those years 1929 
the Giants were to come within a whisper of another 

They did so simply because of Tim Mara's insatiable 
desire to produce a winner. Tim wanted Benny Friedman, 
Michigan's great passer whose throws were opening new 
vistas in the pro game, but Benny belonged to the Detroit 
club and Detroit wouldn't sell him. To surmount this 
obstacle Mara purchased practically the entire Detroit 
team including Friedman and its coach, LeRoy Andrews, 
for whom Owen had played at Kansas City. With Fried 
man pitching, the Giants won twelve, lost one, and tied 
one in '29; but the sole defeat was to Green Bay, and so 
the Packers, who didn't lose at all, took the championship. 

The Giants also chased the Packers to the wire in 

1930 with a 13-4 record, but then slipped to mediocrity 

in '31, and Andrews resigned with two games remaining 

on the schedule. Owen and Friedman were made co- 

- coaches for the balance of the year, one of their greatest 

achievements being an easy victory over an All-Star 

' team featuring Notre Dame's famed Four Horsemen. 

The All Stars were the last team ever coached by the 

late Knute Rockne, and the game netted $115,000 for 

Mayor Walker's fund for the unemployed. 



Owen took full command in 1932 and Friedman moved 
across the East River to Brooklyn, but in '33 the Giants 
had another passer who was to lead them to a title. 
He, too, came from Michigan and his name was Harry 
Newman. He wasn't big, standing only about 5-9 and 
weighing around 180 pounds, but he was a smart field 
general, a good runner, and a sharp passer. Never in 
league history has a ball carrier been as busy as he was 
on November 11, 1934, when he carried thirty-nine times 
in a game against Green Bay. Banging your way into 
the Packer line in those days was hardly the way to 
promote longevity, so it is small wonder that Newman 
retired after the 1935 season, but during his brief and 
meteoric career little Harry placed the Giants in two 
title play-offs. 

Anchoring the middle of the line on those first great 
Owen teams was Mel Hein, a stalwart as big and rugged 
as the trees of his native Northwest. He came to Man 
hattan in 1931, was named to the official League All-Star 
team eight consecutive years at center, won the most- 
valuable-player trophy once, played for fifteen years, 
and missed only one game because of an injury, although 
he passed out from exhaustion in the dressing room fol 
lowing the championship game with the Packers in 1938. 

Owen maintains Hein was the easiest player to coach 
he ever knew because he needed no coaching. He knew 
all phases of his job on the gridiron better than any coach 
could explain them. 

Actually the Giants came dangerously close to losing 
Hein before he ever joined them. Jimmy Conzelman, 
when he was coach at Providence, sent Hein, on his 
graduation from Washington State, a contract to join the 



Steam Rollers. Hein signed it and dropped the letter in 
the mailbox, then went home and found a better offer 
awaiting him from the Giants. Mel promptly returned to 
the mailbox, stationed himself alongside it, and when 
the postman came, retrieved the letter. So were the 
destinies of a player and a football team changed in the 
matter of moments. 

Hein recalls the Bears-Giants championship play 
off of 1933, the first held between the Eastern and West 
ern titleholders, as "the fastest, roughest game I ever saw 
or played in." 

Big Mel has reason to remember that game, for in it 
he almost ran for a touchdown that would have brought 
the world's championship to his team. Those were the 
days before the ball was brought inbounds 20 yards 
from the side-line stripe, and the Giants had possession 
so close to the edge of the field that only one man lined 
up between Hein, at center, and the side line. Just be 
fore the ball was snapped, this player dropped back, thus 
putting Hein at the end of the line and making him 
eligible as a pass receiver. 

Newman, playing under center, appeared to take the 
ball from Hein as usual, backed up a few steps, and fell 
down. Hein, who had held the ball in one hand, screened 
from enemy eyes by the spread of his pants' seat, 
straightened and began to saunter toward the goal line. 
The ruse might have worked, too, had not Hein in 
voluntarily broken into a run at the sight of the Bears' 
safety man, who gave chase and brought him down after 
a gain of 15 yards. 

Newman was brillant that day, and he and Ken 
Strong executed a spur-of-the-moment play that put the 



Giants in the lead for a short time. The ball was in scrim 
mage 8 yards from the Bear goal line, and Strong started 
to his left on a wide sweep. Trapped for what would 
have been a substantial loss, he flipped a lateral to New 
man, who made a magnificent twisting run across the 
field before finally throwing a pass back to Strong, who 
caught it for a touchdown. Despite these heroics, the 
Bears won, 23-21. The Giants, however, were to gain 
revenge a year later. 

For the 1934 play-off classic, one of the most unusual 
games of all time, both teams were crippled. The Bears 
were without the services of the league's leading ground 
gainer, Beattie Feathers. The Giants were in even worse 
shape, for "Red" Badgro was out with a broken leg, leav 
ing them with only two available ends "Red" Flaherty 
and "Ike" Frankian. Newman's back was injured and in a 
brace so that he, too, was not available. The Giants were 
so short of able-bodied personnel that they used only 
one substitute in the first half. He was the veteran Jack 
McBride, who was playing against the Bears for the 
nineteenth time. 

Luckily for the Giants they had a brand new passing 
star to replace the ailing Newman Ed Danowski, a 
rookie from Fordham, who twice licked a natural shy 
ness and lack of self-assertiveness to make himself one of 
the game's great players. 

His first bout with himself came in his early days at 
Fordham at a time when he was contemplating giving 
up football. Major John Cavanaugh, his coach, summoned 
Ed to his private dressing room, so the story goes, and 
asked him to sit down. 

"Danowski/' he began, "they're trying to do a terrible 



thing to you. They're trying to take that scholarship away 
from you. They don't believe in you. They don't think 
youVe got what it takes. 

"You've got some kid brothers, haven't you?" 
Danowski nodded. 

"Well, it's going to be tough explaining to them, when 
you go back, isn't it? I'll bet they've been telling all the 
kids in the neighborhood their brother is going to play 
for Fordham. There isn't any doubt that you're their hero. 
It will be tough sitting at dinner with the kids looking at 
you. It'll be tough sitting there saying to yourself: Those 
people at Fordham were right, I haven't got it* 

"But there is one fellow who believes in you, Ed. I 
believe in you and this is my football team. I'll be seeing 
you on the field in a little while." 

Danowski was a fine football player from that moment, 
but despite his brilliance as one of Fordham's all-time 
greats he did no passing as a collegian. He was naturally 
a tremendously accurate passer, however, and when he 
joined the Giants, Owen felt he needed a jolt of self- 
confidence to make him realize his true capabilities. 
Steve made a friendly wager of an ice-cream soda he 
could dream up a pass play that was a sure-fire touch 
down with Danowski throwing. It worked for 60 yards 
and a score. Then Steve let the squad believe it was all 
Danowskf s doing. 

"Ed was sort of deadly on a throw forever after," Steve 

Certainly Danowski was deadly in that 1934 cham 
pionship game with the Bears. It was a game that shaped 
up as a battle of giants with or without the capital letter. 
The Bears had played twenty-eight consecutive games 



without a defeat, the Giants had won twelve in a row 
at home, and this one was to be played on their home 
field, the Polo Grounds. As fate would have it, this was 
no day for football. The mercury was hovering around 
10 above zero, and the field, although it had been pro 
tected by coverings, was far from ideal. Indeed, about 
eleven o'clock the morning of the game Jack Mara phoned 
Owen and Flaherty to inform them the gridiron was 
frozen and the surface more like a skating rink. 

Flaherty promptly told Owen about a 1925 game at 
Gonzaga in which he had worn rubber-soled sneakers 
to good advantage against Montana. Bill Morgan, who 
was to win All-League honors at tackle, recalled a game 
he had seen the previous year between the University 
' of Washington and a team of All Stars at Seattle. Wash 
ington wore sneakers in the first half and built up a 
69-0 lead. At the intermission the Huskies had loaned 
their shoes to the All Stars. That ended the scoring for 
the day. 

These stories led Owen to believe that if he could out 
fit his Giants with rubber-soled footgear they could gain 
revenge on a Bear team that had beaten them twice 
during the regular season, 27-7 and 10-9. The problem 
was to find the sneakers, a somewhat scarce commodity 
on a Sunday morning when all athletic-goods stores are 
closed. Fortunately one of the more enthusiastic Giant 
rooters was one Abe Cohen, a tailor who formerly made 
uniforms for New York University and who performed 
the same duties for Manhattan when Chick Meehan, his 
friend, switched his coaching affiliation from the Violets 
to Manhattan. 

Cohen had a key to the Manhattan athletic plant. 



He could dash by taxi to the school and pick up the needed 
shoes, provided they weren't securely put away in lockers. 
"In that case/' Owen advised, "break down the lockers. 
I'll take the responsibility." 

Forthwith, as one newspaper account phrased it: "Abe, 
like a latter-day Balto but using no dogs other than his 
own, mushed up to the northern wastes of 242d street, 
got 22 pairs of shoes and arrived at the Polo Grounds at 
half time." 

By the time Cohen had returned from his errand of 
mercy the Bears were in front by 10-3, and the margin 
would have been wider had not a penalty nullified a 
Bear touchdown. Ken Strong had been helped, injured, 
from the field. For the Giants things looked as bleak as the 
icy weather. 

Bill Owen, Steve's brother and a lineman worthy of 
the family heritage, donned a pair of the sneakers, took 
a quick jog on the field during the early part of the 
intermission, and returned reporting they felt "pretty 
good." As a result, when the Giants returned to action 
only "Potsy" Jones at guard and Hein were clad in 
regulation shoes. They had refused to don the sneakers on 
the premise they'd look like sissies. 

What happened thereafter is known to every follower 
of football. The Giants, securely shod and with firm foot 
ing on the icy field, shoved the mighty Bears all over 
the Polo Grounds as the cleats on the Chicagoans* shoes 
acted like the blades of ice skates. Twenty-seven points 
the Giants scored in the fourth period alone to record a 
30-13 upset. Danowski passed for one touchdown and 
ran for another while Strong, miraculously recovered from 
his first-half wounds, raced to two scores. 



The Polo Grounds crowd, in the uncontrolled hysteria 
of the closing minutes of that wild fourth quarter, stormed 
down along the side line, completely enveloping the 
Giants' bench where Johnny Dell Isola, rookie center from 
Boston College, had been languishing throughout the 
cold afternoon, hoping for a chance to go into the game 
in place of the great Hein. Imagine Owen's surprise, 
therefore, when Dell Isola came into the clubhouse 
moments later with the beginnings of a magnificent 
black eye. 

"Where/' asked the startled Steve, "did you get that?" 
"It happened this way/' explained Dell Isola. "When 
the crowd came down on the field, I couldn't find you. I 
saw Hein was tired, so I sent myself in as his sub." 






KINK RICHARDS, who came unheralded to the Giants 
from little Simpson College in Iowa and who remained 
for seven years as one of the best ball carriers of the 
time, made the unfortunate error one day of mistaking the 
distance to the goal line. Forgetting the goal posts were 
on the goal line instead of on the end line as they are 
in collegiate football, he stopped 10 yards short of his 
objective on what should have been a touchdown gallop. 
To Steve Owen's demand for an explanation he said: 
"Well, I thought 

The next time he felt he had made an error on the 
field, he had his answer ready when Owen approached. "I 
guess I made my old mistake, coach," he said. "I was 
thinking again." 

It was tough football as well as sharp thinking that 
got the Giants into the championship play-off again in 
1935 with a record of nine victories and three defeats. 
And one of the victories was achieved in a unique 
manner. The victims were the Bears, who bowed in the 



mud of Wrigley Field by 3-0 after three place lacks by 
Strong, two of which were bull's-eyes. 

The first kick, with the ball in play on the 17-yard 
line, struck the crossbar but the Bears were off -side, so the 
Giants had a first down on the 12. Three plays gained 
little, so Strong kicked again. This time the boot was good 
but both teams were off-side, so he had to try it over. 
This one was good, too, and inasmuch as there were no 
rules violations on the play, the Giants had scored all 
the points that were to be made that day. 

Later in the afternoon Jack Manders tried a kick that 
would have tied the score, and Flaherty informed Owen 
in surprise: "Some Bear was praying the kick would be 

"It was Joe Kopcha," Owen recalls, "and he was 
praying out loud right in the face of my brother. Bill was 
mad enough to hit Joe, but as he said, how could you 
strike a guy when he was praying? Anyhow, Manders 
missed the kick, so it looked like we had the angels on our 
side without asking/' 

Neither the angels nor Lady Luck was on the side of 
the Giants in the championship game, however, and the 
title went to the Lions, 26-7. 

It was during the course of this season that Wellington 
Mara asked his father for permission to visit Washington 
on business. 

"What do you want to go there for?" Tim asked. 

"I want to see Tuffy' Leemans," his younger son re 

"Never heard of him," said Tim. 
Alphonse Leemans was a backfield star with George 
Washington University's football team and he wasn't 



surprised when lie learned of the elder Mara's remark. 
"If you d have asked most New Yorkers what they knew 
about George Washington/* he laughed, "they'd have 
said: 1 thought he was dead!' No wonder Mr. Mara hadn't 
heard of me." 

It wasn't long, however, before the entire football 
world was caroling the praises of "Tuffy" Leemans. In 
those early days of the player draft, most pro teams didn't 
spend many selections on men from the smaller schools. 
They preferred to grab the name stars and then go after 
the little All Americans later. That was the Giants' tech 
nique. Wellington Mara offered Leemans a contract in the 
event some other team didn't claim him in the draft. 
None did, a little oversight they're still regretting. 

The first time Leemans carried the ball for the Giants 
in 1936 he ran 45 yards for a touchdown, and he kept 
on doing that sort of thing for eight seasons. He was 
one of those spirited, rugged, hell-for-leather hustlers 
who could never understand why Owen wouldn't let him 
play the full sixty minutes of every game. 

"To think I'm paid for this," Leemans enthused one 
day. "Gosh, I should have been paid in college. This 
is fun. That was work." 

Byron "Whizzer" White, the brilliant Rhodes scholar 
from Colorado who made his pro debut with the Pitts 
burgh club in 1938, was asked the difference between 
college and professional football. He pointed to Leemans. 
"There's the difference," White said. "Boy, he's about 
the best football player in the world!" 

Leemans was a fierce competitor. In the opening game 
one season he noticed a rookie lineman who wasn't 



"Crack in there!" he ordered in the huddle. 

"Why should I?" queried the lineman. "I'm getting paid 

"Son/* shot back Leemans, "I'm going to give you a 
break. On the next play I'm going to let you fake getting 
hurt. Then you go over to the bench and get off this 
squad as fast as you can. We don't want men like you 
on this team!" 

Once when Leemans was having a great day, "Turk" 
Edwards, huge Redskin tackle, shouted: "Why don't you 
run the next play my way?" 

"Anything to oblige," said Leemans. And on the next 
play he scampered right over Edwards for 20 yards. 

The Giants in Leemans' first year weren't so hot, 
and on at least one occasion Steve Owen was downright 
cold. It was bad enough, the coach thought, when the 
Lions ran up a 38-0 score on his boys, but when "Ace" 
Gutowsky, tackling out of bounds late in the game, fell 
in such a way he kicked the water bucket squarely into 
Owen's lap well, that was adding insult to injury, espe 
cially when the mercury was nestling below the 20 mark. 

After this disastrous season in which the Giants won 
five, lost six, and tied one, Owen set about rebuilding the 
team almost in its entirety. He brought in at the ends 
Jim Lee Howell, Chuck Gelatka, Ray Hanken, and Will 
Walls. At tackle he added Ed Widseth and Ox Parry. The 
new guards were Orville Tuttle, Pete Cole, "Tarzan" 
White, and "Kayo" Lunday. To bolster the backfield he 
acquired Ward Cuff from Marquette and Hank Soar from 

Cuff was Owen s personal selection and justified the 
coach's judgment of football talent in the raw by nine 



seasons of brilliant play for the Giants. Cuff was the 
unsung member of a Marquette backfield which included 
Ray Buivid and the Gueppe brothers. The other three 
had earned the headlines while Cuff did the tough 
blocking duty. It was his excellence at this rugged as 
signment that caught Owen's eye when he watched 
Marquette one day. 

"He's not much/' "Curly" Lambeau told Owen after 
the Giants had drafted Cuff. "He's a Milwaukee boy and 
would be a drawing card in Green Bay. He'd do us more 
good. How about trading him?" 

This shrewd bit of salesmanship by Lambeau left 
the old horse trader Owen unimpressed. Steve switched 
his chew from one cheek to the other. 

"Nope/* he grunted. That was the end of all trade 
possibilities, but Cuff's possibilities were just beginning 
to be explored. Owen discovered quickly that burly Ward 
not only could block, he could run well on a reverse play. 
Steve also taught him to place-kick, and Cuff caught 
on so rapidly to this precise skill he thrice led the league in 
field goals from placement. 

Soar, who later became a major-league baseball um 
pire, will go down in Giant legend as the player who 
talked back to Owen when the coach tried to send in 
some information at a crucial point in a ball game. 

"Steve, go away and let us alone/' Soar said. "We're 
awfully busy out here." 

One day the Brooklyn club sent a rookie end into 
the game and "Red" Smith, the assistant coach, sent in 
structions to Soar: "Use that flanker play. If that kid goes 
wide with you, rack him up." 

The play was called but Soar "racked up" nobody. It 



was tried again with no success. When Soar came to the 
bench, Smith demanded: "What happened to the flanker 

"Gosh, 'Red/ " retorted Soar. "It wouldn't work. Every 
time I went out on a flanker. Tug' Manders followed me 
out. And I couldn't rack up a nice guy like 'Pug'!" 

When he began rebuilding the Giants with Soar, Cuff, 
and the rest in 1937, Owen promised the fans the cham 
pionship in three years. It was a bad guess. The Giants 
won it in two. They went through the 1938 season with an 
8-2-1 record and defeated Green Bay in the play-off, 

The Giants were not in good shape for the title tussle, 
for Dell Isola was in the hospital and Cuff, Hein, and 
Lee Shaffer were hurt although able to play. Indeed, Hein 
recovered a fumble to set up a scoring pass from Danow- 
ski to Hap Barnard at end. That, together with a touch 
down by Leemans and a field goal by Cuff, gave the 
Giants a 16-14 edge at the intermission. A third-period 
field goal by "Tiny" Engebretsen put the Packers ahead by 
a point, but the Giants surged again with Soar spear 
heading the attack. Hank finally caught a 23-yard pass 
from Danowski and dove over the goal line for a touch 
down with Clarke Hinkle clinging desperately to one 

The Giants retained their divisional crown in 1939 
but lost to the Packers in the play-off. A notable victory 
was achieved at the expense of the Eagles, 13-3, at a 
time when ten of the Giants were ill of ptomaine. It was 
a touchdown run by Leemans that turned the ball game, 
and some sports writers opined the run was made possible 
by poor tackling on the part of the Philadelphians. To that 



charge Bert Bell, their coach, replied: 'Talk about bad 
tackling if you want to. Leemans makes all tacklers look 
bad. They aren't all poor tacklers in this league, but they 
all miss him the same way." 

The game for which the 1939 Giants will always be 
remembered, however, was a 9-7 victory over the Red 
skins. All the Giant points came on field goals, two by 
Cuff and one by Strong, while the Redskins tallied a 
touchdown on a 30-yard pass from Frank Filchock to 
Bob Masterson, who kicked the point. 

With forty-five seconds of playing time remaining, 
Torrance "Bo" Russell, Washington tackle and kicking 
specialist, stepped back to try a field goal from the 16- 
yard line. The ball sailed true as it left his foot, and the 
Redskin linemen, looking up at the crossbar, began to 
smile in glee. But then the ball veered slightly in its 
flight, and Referee Bill Halloran spread his arms, the 
hands palms downward, signaling that the kick had 

Actually the ball had passed almost directly above the 
left upright, thus precipitating one of the most violent 
arguments in football history. Newspapers ran clips from 
movies of the play, attempting to prove the kick was good 
and that Halloran had erred. The furor raged for days, 
but the official's decision stood, as it always does. 

That game, incidentally, further pointed up the great 
ness of Leemans as a competitor. "Tuffy" had a severe 
cleat wound in his right leg, and four days before the game 
doctors expressed some fear he wouldn't even be able to 
walk for a couple of weeks. Yet when the game began, 
there was Leemans, not only in the Giants' backfield but 
in the Redskins', too, harassing them to a frenzy. Although 



his leg was swathed in gauze and tape, he intercepted two 
passes that had been labeled "touchdown." 

The year 1940 brought little joy to the Polo Grounds. 
The Giants had a bad season so bad that the Brooklyn 
Dodgers, led by "Ace" Parker, beat them for the first time 
since 1930 and finished ahead of them in the standings for 
the first time in history, 

Len Eshmont, George Franck, Len Younce, Dom 
Principe, Marion Pugh, Chet Gladchuck, and Andy Mare- 
fos, who was distinguished by his mustache, joined the 
Giants in 1941 to help them to a divisional title with an 
8-3 record. Two of the defeats were administered by 
Brooklyn,* led by Parker, "Pug" Manders, Perry Schwartz, 
and "Bruiser" Kinard. The score of their second meeting 
was 21-7 with Manders gaming 90 yards from scrimmage 
and scoring three touchdowns, one on an intercepted pass. 

The Bears, who had lost only one of eleven games, 
trounced the Giants, 37-9, in the play-off for the cham 
pionship. In the course of this battle Ben Sohn, a guard, 
had his shirt ripped from his back. The incident brought 
Owen charging out with a claim of holding, but he was 
vtfaved back by the officials. As he reached the 4 bench, 
Steve muttered: "Maybe I was wrong. I guess the Bears 
didn't hold Sohn and rip his shirt off after all. It must have 
been moths." 

In an early scrimmage before the start of the 1944 
season Lee Shaffer, veteran back who was counted upon 
to help see the Giants through the wartime manpower 
shortage, toppled as his knee buckled. He limped toward 
the side line, a puzzled frown on his face as he called to 
Charley Porter, the trainer: "Hey, Charley, I've banged 
up my knee. Feel it. You can hear it click." The knee- 



cap was shattered in three places and Shaffer's long 
career was at an end. 

His loss was offset by the return of Cuff, released from 
military service with a medical discharge. Big Al Blozis, 
who was to be killed in action, was stationed at nearby 
Camp Meade and came up week ends to play tackle. 
Howie Livingston, a scatback, joined up, and Mel Hein 
returned from a coaching job at Union College to play 
again and tell the rookies about the time he received a 
broken nose when a Brooklyn player aimed a punch at 
Leemans and hit Hein by mistake. 

On their way to a sectional championship the Giants 
were trailing the Redskins, 13-10, with less than ten 
minutes to go. Cuff had been carrying the ball time and 
again, and Leemans felt he was too weary to attempt a 
field goal. "Tuffy" said as much in the huddle. 

"Don't be silly," replied the dog-tired Cuff. "You put 
her down, Tuffy/ and 111 kick one." 

Cuff was a man of his word. He kicked a perfect 38- 
yarder to tie the score, and the Giants went on to win. 

Another key man in this title drive was old Arnie 
Berber, salvaged from the Packers, but there was nothing 
he could do about trimming his former Green Bay team 
mates in the play-off game. 

Steve Filipowicz, former Fordham back, scored his 
first pro touchdown under extremely unusual circum 
stances. He was supposed to block the Pitt end on a pass 
play but forgot the assignment. The Pitt end obligingly 
slipped and fell flat on his face, thus giving Berber plenty 
of time to locate a receiver. He spotted the bewildered 
Filipowicz standing in the end zone, so passed the ball 
to him for 6 points. 



The championship game of 1946 was anticlimactic, the 
Giants losing to the Bears, 24-14, despite the brilliant 
play of Filchock, whose nose was broken early in the 
fray. With that defeat the Giants' fortunes went into 
reverse and they didn't regain even a threatening position 
in the race until 1950. Then they upset the champions of 
the old All America Conference, the mighty Cleveland 
Browns, twice during the regular season only to lose to 
them in a third meeting for the divisional championship. 

In the first game the Giants struck for a quick 6- 
point lead and then clung tenaciously to it as Owen's 
newly devised umbrella defense shackled the Browns, 
who never before had been shut out. Later in the season 
the Giants trailed the Browns, 13-3, at the half and came 
back with a touchdown to make it 13-10. In the fourth 
period the Giants worked the ball to the 2-yard line where 
it was fourth down with goal to go. The setup was perfect 
for a place kick and a tie score but Owen spurned the 
tie, shot the works, and scored the touchdown that 
meant victory. 

The Giants might have won the play-off from the 
Browns, too, but for an off-side penalty that nullified what 
would have been a touchdown pass from Charley Con- 
erly to Bob McChesney. The Browns won, 8-3, scoring 
5 points in the final minute of play. 

Eddie Price of Tulane, equally dangerous running 
from the T- or the A-formation, was the spark plug of 
these later Giants even as another runner of the same type, 
Bill Paschal, had been through the middle forties. Price 
was the league's leading ground gainer in 1951 and 1952, 
his effectiveness being increased by the passing threat 
presented by Conerly. But as customary with Owen- 


Alphonse "Tuffy" Leemons 

Mel Hein 

Steve Owen 
Tackle and Coach 



Timothy J. Mara 

Ray Flaherty 



Ed Danowski 

Ken Strong 

Ward Cuff 


coached teams, the Giants were primarily defensive 
wizards, and showing the way was a giant from Wash 
ington named Arnie Weinmeister, who had been picked 
up from the Yankees when the All America went out of 

Don Stonesifer, Chicago Cardinals' pass-catching end, 
admitted he got no joy from playing opposite Wein 
meister. "It is impossible to block him/' Don insisted. "I 
remember one time when I tried to block him, slid off, 
and accidentally held his foot with an elbow so that he 
fell and the play went over him for a good gain. I was 
feeling quite pleased until Weinmeister picked me up 
bodily and held me off the ground with my face level with 

"1 don't like to be held, Don,' he said, his eyes like 
steel. 'Remember that. No holding. Understand?* 

"Yeah, man! I understood!" 





IN 1932 GEORGE PRESTON MARSHALL got into football and 
politics. That he preferred the former was to the ever 
lasting betterment of the National Football League and 
unquestionably a source of great loss to the government. 
George Marshall would have been a marvelous addition 
to the Congress, where he could have let his oratory 
run unfettered and untrammeled, but he cut short a 
political career for another in which the wind is confined 
to the bladder of an inflated and animated pigskin. 

"I like politics/' he admitted shortly after being a 
member of the rules committee of the 1936 Democratic 
National Convention, "but I got out because too many 
people called up to get recommendations for jobs." 

Nothing could get George Marshall out of football, 
It is his life's blood. See him all but burst at the seams 
with pride when the band strikes up "Hail to the 
Redskins/' and you know that here is a man with one 
overpowering interest his football team. He is a man 
of a million words and as many ideas, a large majority of 



them sound. His vocal barrages in behalf of pet notions 
which he thinks are for the betterment of pro football 
frequently drive rival club owners slightly daft at league 
meetings. But all will agree that the sport would not be 
what it is today were it not for Marshall, his ideas, his 
enthusiasm, and his zeal. 

His first contribution was to standardize the schedule 
so that each team plays the same number of league games 
a season. Next he proposed the split of the league into 
two divisions with the winners meeting for the world's 
championship. He led the drive for a uniform contract 
between teams so that all pay-offs are settled on a guar 
antee to the visitor at present $20,000 or a 60-40 split, 
whichever is larger. It was he who joined with George 
Halas of the Bears in leading a drive for the rules changes 
that opened up the game into the offensive circus it is 
today. It was he who first "dressed up" professional foot 
ball with elaborate half-time displays and swing bands, 
and boosted the sale of his product with a carefully 
planned promotional program. 

Showmanship comes naturally to Marshall because he 
is, at heart, a showman. After getting his schooling at 
Friends Select School in Washington and Randolph-Ma- 
con Academy, he obtained a walk-on part in a Broadway 
stage production. "I helped carry the star on stage in a 
sedan chair," he recalls, "but I put too much enthusiasm 
into the role, and when I bounced the sedan chair, I got 
bounced, too. But I did draw a pretty good part in New 
York, and my friends complimented me by calling me a 
genuine Smithfield ham. w 

Marshall also played a part with the Morosco Stock 
Company in Los Angeles and kept his hand in show 



business by managing theaters in and around Washing 
ton and Baltimore. But after a hitch in the Army he 
found himself in the prosaic role of businessman, his 
father having died and left him a small wet-wash em 
porium called the Palace Laundry. Marshall promptly 
dressed it up to fit its name, and when he sold it in 
1945 it had fifty-seven branches in the District of Colum 
bia and environs. 

"I immediately began to apply theatrical principles to 
merchandising/' he explains. His motto became "Long 
Live Linen," the fagades of his laundries were done in 
blue and gold, there were no commercial gimmicks in 
the windows,* which contained only a blue vase with a 
chrysanthemum. His delivery trucks and their drivers 
bore the same blue-and-gold decor. He was a thoughtful 
and considerate employer, and his hired help enjoyed 
many benefits that were novel at the time. He established 
medical and dental clinics and group insurance for the 
employees. He installed cafeterias, shower baths, and 
lounge rooms in his plants, and a sound system to pipe 
music to the workers. And if the music usually was at a 
rapid tempo, it would be because he thought his happy 
little industrial family could get more work done in less 
time on this novel "swing" shift. 

In 1934 he became publisher of the Washington Times 
for William Randolph Hearst under a contract in which he 
promised to engage in no businesses except the laundry, 
the football team, and publishing. Yet two years later 
he was active as a director of the million-dollar racing 
plant on Long Island known as Roosevelt Raceway, then 
devoted to auto racing but now the home of the harness 
horse. Marshall's pet promotion there was the Raceway 



Club, reserved for notables who paid $27.50 each to sit 
in a box seat. Each member wore a little tin lapel button 
bearing the legend, "Raceway Club." At $27.50 each 
Marshall considers the buttons one of his most handsome 
merchandising efforts. 

His number one promotional achievement, however, 
was in connection with the Pan-American Exposition in 
Dallas in 1937. There, for a fee of $100,000, Marshall 
undertook to spend $500,000 for a combination sports and 
theatrical attraction. He organized an international track 
meet that drew 65,000 people in three nights, an unheard- 
of turnout for track and field. And at the same time he 
constructed a pleasure palace and produced for it a show 
that ranked among the finest in the nation. 

At the conclusion of the Dallas exposition Frank 
Florence, a member of the committee, said he considered 
the $100,000 fee to Marshall the best money his group 
had spent. No wonder George says of the Dallas ad 
venture: "I am prouder of that than anything I ever did." 

Brazilians were so impressed by the success of the 
promotion that they invited Marshall to stage some games 
in South America the following year. Oswaldo Aranha, 
the Brazilian ambassador, together with the finance min 
ister, Arthur de Souza Costa, even pledged a sum of $500,- 
000 to ensure the success of the enterprise. But George 
spurned the offer. 

"I was dazzled/* he admits, "but the football bug was 
too much a part of me. The Redskins had won the world's 
title that year and that dazzled me even more than the 
Brazilian offer." 

For all that he has "dressed up" the Redskin games 
with bands and fanfare, Marshall believes that the game 



itself is the big thing and that entertainment can never 
substitute for it. 

"Football/* he says, "is a game of pageantry. It derives 
as a spectacle from the gladiator shows of the Romans in 
the pages of history. It is strictly amphitheater. It needs 
that atmosphere. Its great success is due to the color sur 
rounding it. Nothing is duller than two teams scrimmag 
ing without music or bands. I would liken football with 
out a band to a musical show without an orchestra. I 
think the fact that pro football has not gone farther than it 
has is due to a weakness in the side show/' 

There is nothing weak about the Marshall side show. 
It features a 110-piece band, augmented by a dance band 
perched in a tepee atop the temporary stands along one 
side line. Both musical units love to give out with the 
strains of "Hail to the Redskins/' written by orchestra 
leader Barnee Breeskin and Mrs. Marshall, the former 
Corinne Griffith of the movies whose book, My Life with 
the Redskins, is an entertaining study of football from 
the feminine angle. 

The Redskin band is one of the great units in foot 
ball, college or professional. It started in 1937 when a 
milk company employees' band asked permission to pa 
rade and play at home games. The next year the unit 
was enlarged and the Redskin Marching Band organized. 
It is composed of volunteers from all walks of life 
printers, plumbers, students, salesmen, and even musi 
cians. It owns $25,000 worth of costumes including color 
ful Indian headdresses. It meets every Tuesday afternoon 
and has a rehearsal at the Stadium every Thursday night. 

"We have spirit in that band/' Marshall enthuses. 
"When you see 110 people stand in ice, snow, or mud at 



night for a cup of coffee and a hot dog, as they some 
times do at rehearsal, you have a lot of respect for them. 
That is the Redskin Band." 

The Big Chief of the Redskins makes a genuine pro 
duction of half-time entertainment, which has included 
elephants, bears, and monkeys, as well as headline stars 
of the legitimate theater and occasionally a ballet troupe. 
When he sets out to do something, he usually succeeds. 

There was the time, for instance, when Kate Smith 
attended a game in Griffith Stadium with her partner, Ted 
Collins, who then owned the Boston Yanks. Marshall 
wanted Miss Smith to sing her famous number, "When 
the Moon Comes Over the Mountain." Collins refused. 

"I wanted that song," says Marshall. "So what I did was 
direct attention to Kate's presence via the P.A. system. 
Next we switched to the field where we had a stage set 
with a moon and a mountain. Then we played a recording 
of her song. The crowd went wild and gave her a tre 
mendous ovation. I believe most of them felt Kate actually 
had obliged with a song." 

These between-halves extravaganzas are part of a 
deliberate scheme to make a he-man sport interesting to 
women and children, and to lure new customers who 
aren't quite sure as yet whether they like football but 
know well enough when they have had a good time. It's 
part of Marshall's theory that "if you get women and the 
kids steamed up over a football game, you have papa 

Through their years of constant striving for the better 
ment and advancement of professional football, Marshall 
and Halas have battled side by side. They also have 
battled head to head on occasion. 



During the Redskins-Bears game for the champion 
ship in December of 1937 a small free-for-all developed 
on the field when the Redskins claimed a Bear player 
had punched Sammy Baugh. Marshall., with a startled 
shout, "TheyVe hit Baugh/' stormed from the stands and 
onto the field, where he engaged in a violent jawing match 
with Halas. But let Mrs. Marshall tell the story as she 
does in her book: 

Somehow, they had been pushed over to the Bear bench in 

front of our box. Halas was saying: "You dirty , get up 

in that box where you belong. It's too bad it ain't a cage. Now 
laugh that off." 

"You shut that mouth of yours, or Til punch those 

gold teeth right down that red throat!" 

One of the Bear players started for him. George seemed to 
think that a good time to leave. He stomped back to the box, 
snorted as he sat down and, of course, took it out on me. 

"What's the matter with you? You look white as a sheet!" 

"Oh, that was awful!" 

"What was awful?" 

"That horrible language. We heard every word." 

"Well, you shouldn't listen." 

"Oh, you. And right in front of ladies" George started to pro 
test. "It was so humiliating," I continued, "I never want to see 
a pro game again as long as I live." George began to wilt "And 
I am sure none of these ladies will ever come again." George's 
raccoon coat began to wilt. " or allow their children to." Silence. 
"And as for that man Halas!" Every hair of George's raccoon coat 
bristled. "He's positively revolt " 

"Don't you dare say anything against Halas," George was ac 
tually shaking his finger under my nose. "He's my best friend!" 

Six years later Marshall and his raccoon coat made 
another appearance on Wrigley Field during a champion 
ship game between the Redskins and Bears. This one 



cost him $500, and a similar fine was plastered against 
Ralph Brizzolara, diminutive Chicago steel executive 
who was then running the Bears while Halas served in 
the Navy. 

Marshall, it seems, had wandered down onto the 
field shortly before the end of the first half. As George 
himself put it, he wanted to pay a friendly visit to the 
Bear coaches at half time, but miscalculated the time and 
found himself at the Bear bench before the half ended. 
The Bears found him there, too, and demanded his ejec 
tion. Brizzolara and Jack Goldie, the equipment manager, 
obliged, escorting him forcibly back to the stands. Mar 
shall's march didn't end there, either, for a diligent usher 
kept him moving because he couldn't produce a box-seat 
ticket stub. 

Marshall's troubles with the Bears and Halas reached 
a peak midway of the 1951 season. Herman Ball had 
been bounced as the Washington head coach, and Mar 
shall wanted Heartley "Hunk" Anderson to replace him. 
Anderson, although he had quit coaching to enter busi 
ness, was still property of the Bears, for whom he had 
toiled for many years. Halas refused to release Anderson 
unless Marshall would agree to give him a tackle in ex 
change, and the man he wanted was Paul Lipscomb, 
one of the best in the league. Marshall screamed 
that the trading of a player for a coach was unheard of, 
he stormed that Halas had no right standing in the way 
of Anderson's advancement. Halas finally closed the issue 
by paying "Hunk" a huge salary to return to the Bears as 
a part-time assistant coach, but the breach between Halas 
and Marshall and Halas and Anderson created by this 
episode has never healed. 



That was but one of Marshall's troubles with coaches. 
He has been plagued with them ever since he was bitten 
by the football bug. He has seen coaches come and 
coaches go in an almost unending stream, and there are 
those who insist that Marshall himself is the only real 
coach the Redskins ever have had. Back in 1945 when Dud 
De Groot was the head coach, another National League 
coach commented on the Washington situation in this 

"Clark Shaughnessy, the Pitt coach, gives De Groot the 
plays to use. 'Turk' Edwards runs the line and signs the 
men he wants. De Groot gets his own backs and runs 
Shaughnessy's formations. Mrs. Marshall stages the be- 
tween-halves ceremonies, and if she doesn't have enough 
time, Marshall gets the devil. And Marshall? He got on the 
phone during the Redskins-Rams game and ordered 
De Groot to 'get that lousy end outa there' although Dud 
didn't have any better replacement. De Groot won't stay 
long even if he has a contract/' 

He didn't. Neither have his successors, for in the nine 
years following Ray Flaherty's entrance into service in 
1943 the Redskins have had no less than seven head 
coaches. They may even have more in the near future, too, 
unless the Redskins go on the warpath with a vengeance, 
for Marshall is a man with vision, and the vision is another 
championship for Washington. 






GEORGE MAHSHAIX once said that the best of the many 
coaches he has hired was "Lone Star" Dietz, and it was 
a typically Marshall touch that he should select an Indian 
to coach his Boston club the very year that "Redskins" 
was adopted as its name. Dietz was, says George, "a 
genius .... an inventive, brilliant strategist." 

Certainly no Indian ever infiltrated enemy lines with 
greater success than Dietz did one day during his first 
season. The Bears were in Boston, quartered at the Bruns 
wick Hotel, and on the Saturday preceding the game 
Halas called his players together for one of his coaching 
innovations. Movies had been taken of the preceding 
week's game, and the Bears were about to study them to 
learn of their individual mistakes. The meeting was classi 
fied top secret, and there was much "shushing" and many 
furtive glances as the players assembled in a ballroom 
which had been reserved for the historic occasion. Frank 
Halas, the club secretary, was stationed as a guard at one 
door. Andy Lotshaw, the trainer, stood at the other. 



The film was run and re-run as flaws in the Bears' of 
fense were detected and corrected. The screen told clearly 
why this play worked, why that one didn't. When the 
lights finally were turned on there came a burst of ap 
plause from the front row of seats. There sat "Lone Star" 

'Wonderful! Wonderful!" he beamed. "Thank you. A 
great idea, George. I learned a lot." 

And so he did. That evening he revised his defenses. 
Next afternoon the Redskins held the favored Bears to a 
7-0 score! 

One of the Redskin heroes of that day, and for many 
others in years to come, was Cliff Battles, a shifty runner 
out of West Virginia Wesleyan whose ball-carrying ex 
ploits in the National Football League have seldom been 
equaled. He was a Marshall discovery. 

"I had followed West Virginia teams since my boy 
hood," Marshall says, "and was always partial to them. 
Even when I saw Wesleyan and Battles take shellackings 
from Navy, Georgetown, and other teams I still felt Battles 
was the hottest thing in college football. So after the 
season I sent out the business manager to Wesleyan. 

" 'Sign Battles/ I told him, 'or just keep going south!' " 
Marshall had found his way into professional football 
through his laundry business, little dreaming he would 
clean up in both. Back in 1926 he organized a basketball 
team to obtain publicity for the laundry and entered it in 
the old National Basketball League where he came into 
contact with Halas and Joe Carr. Naturally, some of their 
enthusiasm for football began to rub off on Marshall, who 
never missed a big fight, a Kentucky Derby, or any other 
major sports event. Jimmy Walker, the late mayor of 



New York City, who could run a dead heat with Marshall 
in the matter of sartorial splendor, contributed his bit by 
trying to influence his old friend George to purchase the 
Brooklyn grid franchise. He failed, but only because the 
price was too high. 

By 1931 the constant importunings of Halas and Carr 
had Marshall really interested. That fall he attended a 
game between the Bears and Giants in New York, along 
with Vincent Bendix, Jay O'Brien, and M. Borland Doyle. 
They liked what they saw and that evening, during the 
course of a party at the apartment of Jack Hearst, they 
decided to put up $7,500 each and get into the football 
business, with the proviso that Marshall operate the team. 
They selected Boston largely because of O'Brien's friend 
ship with Judge Emil Fuchs, who owned the Boston 
Braves baseball team. The 1932 team was called the 
Braves inasmuch as it used Braves* Field as its home 
grounds. Lud Wray was hired as coach. 

The venture was doomed to failure almost from the 
start. Boston was vitally interested in Harvard football, 
and it supported Boston College, Boston University, and 
nearby Holy Cross. With a few exceptions like Bill Cun 
ningham, the press was cold toward the pro game and so 
were the fans almost as cold as the New England 
weather. The combination of these frigid factors meant 
a loss of $46,000 in the very first year, whereupon the other 
partners withdrew, leaving Marshall to carry on a lone 
fight. His first reorganizational steps were to move to 
Fenway Park, change the team's name, and hire Dietz. 

Dietz's teams of '33 and '34 maintained an exact .500 
rating, winning eleven, losing eleven, and tying two 
games. The next year under Eddie Casey the 'Skins were 



properly skinned, winning two, losing seven, and tying 
one. Then Ray Flaherty moved in for the first of seven 
successful years as coach and the team began to move. 
Flaherty was a red-headed end from Gonzaga and a 
veteran of nine years in the pro ranks, seven of them with 
the New York Giants. He knew football, he could handle 
his players, and he was temperamentally so well adjusted 
he could work harmoniously with the mercurial Marshall. 
They made a winning combination. And it didn't take 
them long to make a winning team. 

They did it, in fact, in their very first year together, 
but although the improved Redskins won the Eastern 
division championship with a 7-5 record, Boston re 
mained unimpressed. It had too many other sports in 

"When Princeton and Harvard drew 20,000 at Cam 
bridge the same day 40,000 watched the horses run at 
Narragansett, I knew it marked the end of football in 
Boston," Marshall recalls. "I decided to move the team to 
a more conservative town/' 

Before he could get around to that, however, there 
remained the championship play-off game with the West 
ern champions, the Green Bay Packers. Marshall was so 
mad at Boston and Bostonians by this time that he 
switched the "big" game to the Polo Grounds in New York, 
the first time in history the title had been decided on a 
neutral field. The Redskins never returned to Boston ex 
cept to pack up their belongings. 

The team that Flaherty assembled that year had an 
explosive backfield that included Battles, Riley Smith, 
Ernie Pinckert, "Pug" Rentner, and Don Irwin. Wayne 
Millner and Charley Malone were at ends, "Turk" Ed- 



wards and Jim Barber at tackles, Les Olsson and Jim 
Karcher at guards, and Frank "Pete" Bausch at center. 
Most of them were to remain in the championship class 
for years, but in 1936 they were just beginning to jell as 
a unit and they lacked a forward passer. Nevertheless, 
they won the division crown by beating the Giants in 
the mud and rain at New York in the final game. The 
score was 14-0 with the elusive Battles sloshing 80 yards 
for the cushion touchdown. 

The championship game attracted 29,545 New Yorkers 
despite the fact the fans had no immediate rooting in 
terest in either the Redskins or the Packers; but the 
Redskins' hopes were dashed in the first minutes of play. 
Before the game had progressed three minutes, Green Bay 
led on a long pass and, immediately after the subsequent 
kickoflF, Battles was carried off the field with a badly 
injured leg. Shorn of their top offensive threat, the 'Skins 
went down to a 21-6 defeat. 

Marshall now had a fine ball club but no place for it 
to play. However, the promotional bee was buzzing again 
in his noggin, and it had advised him to invite a few 
people to attend the championship game. The guest list in 
cluded Clark Griffith, owner of the Washington Senators 
baseball team, and Washington's leading sports writers 
and columnists. They enjoyed the game, and when George 
asked them that evening whether they'd support pro 
football if he brought the Redskins to the capital, they 
agreed to do their part as long as Marshall and the Red 
skins did theirs. 

That was all the assurance Marshall needed and with 
Woolworth Donohue, Doyle, and Eddie Reeves as part 
ners, he effected the switch of the franchise to Washington 



with Griffith Stadium as his home grounds. The move was 
accomplished at the very time he was setting Texas in an 
uproar with his lavish productions at the Dallas exposi 
tion, so perhaps it should not be surprising that only 916 
season tickets were sold in advance. It wasn't long after 
ward that all choice Redskins seats were gobbled up in 
the advance sale of season books, and a complete sellout 
by midweek preceding a game was commonplace. 

Marshall alone, for all his promotional genius, couldn't 
have wrought this miracle. Neither could the Redskins. 
It was accomplished by a tall, spare, almost skinny young 
man from Texas. His name was Samuel Adrian Baugh. 




IN THE CLUBHOUSE after the Redskins' play-off defeat at 
the hands of Green Bay, Coach Flaherty consoled his 
players with the statement they needed only a great for 
ward passer to win the world's championship in a romp. 
Consequently, his job was to find one immediately. There 
were a number of good passers among the graduating 
collegians, and of these the most sensational in point of 
performance was Baugh, who had been so devastating 
with his pitching for Texas Christian that he had been 
nicknamed "Slingin* Sam.'* Most pro clubs were shying 
away from Baugh despite his record. Sammy was so tall 
and spare, he wasn't considered rugged enough for the 
big league. 

"Take my advice," Grantland Rice, dean of America's 
sports writers, told Marshall, "if you sign him, insure his 
right arm for a million dollars. Those big pros will tear it 

Poor feeble Sammy Baugh, it turned out, was so 
fragile that he lasted only sixteen years in pro football 



a record that only the indestructible Johnny Blood ever 
approached and which undoubtedly will stand for all 

It took no small amount of oratory for Marshall to 
persuade Baugh to come to Washington that summer of 
1937 to talk contract. Sammy had his eye set on a career 
in professional baseball; but at length he agreed to give 
pro football a whirl and wait until the next spring to con 
sider baseball. These preliminary conversations took place 
over the long distance telephone and, before hanging up 
the receiver, Marshall asked Sammy to purchase some 
Texas boots and a ten-gallon hat. 

"What size?" Baugh inquired. 

"Don't you know your own sizes?" Marshall asked. 

"Sure/" admitted Baugh, "but I thought they were for 
you. Besides, I've* never worn cowboy boots and a big 

"Get them," ordered Marshall. "I want you to be 
wearing them when you step off the plane here in Wash 
ington. I'll pay you for them when you get here." 

On June 1, 1937, Baugh stepped off the plane looking 
every inch the traditional Texan of western storybooks 
and there are six feet, two inches of him. The reporters, 
photographers, and newsreel men who recorded his ar 
rival were delighted. Later Sammy learned to walk in 
those spike-heeled boots as though he had been born in 
them, but as soon as he had reached the privacy of Mar 
shall's office this day, he yanked them off with the com 
ment: "My feet are killing me." 

The exact figures of the contract Baugh signed that 
day have never been revealed, but it was aniKHjnced that 
the pact called for the highest salary ever paid a pro 



player up to that time. Guesses ranged from $10,000 to 
$25,000. Whatever the sum, Marshall got a bargain. 

There's a story that went the rounds after Baugh's 
first workout with the Redskins. If s one that has been told 
of others as well, but it fits the Baugh pattern to a T 
even as he eventually turned to the T-formation after 
setting passing records as a tailback. 

"You," Coach Flaherty instructed Wayne Millner, "go 
downfield and buttonhook behind the middle linebacker. 
And you, Sammy, hit him in the eye with the football. 
Right in the eye, understand?" 

"Sure, coach," Sammy agreed, "but just one question/* 


"Which eye?" 

Whether that incident actually transpired is imma 
terial. The fact remains that when practice was over, 
Flaherty ran headlong to Marshall, waving his arms in 

"Boss," he cried, "you've done it. You've come up with 
the greatest passer in the world." 

Sammy Baugh hadn't come by his unique skill acci 
dentally. It was acquired through hard work and arduous 
hours of practice. As a high-school athlete, during summer 
vacation, Baugh removed the seat from a swing that hung 
from a bough of a big tree in his back yard. He replaced 
the seat with an old automobile tire and then used it as 
a target for his practice passes. His aim, in due time, 
became so accurate he could swing the tire in a wide arc 
and while on the run pass the football squarely through 
the hoop. 

When Baugh and the Redskins made their debut in 
Washington in September, they did so before the biggest 



football crowd in the capital's history to that moment. 
The 19,941 new fans saw Baugh play the full sixty minutes 
and saw the Redskins win, 13-3, but Sammy wasn't the 
bright star. That distinction went jointly to Riley Smith 
and Battles. It wasn't till well along toward midseason 
that Sammy really began to click. By that time his team 
mates had become accustomed to handling his bullet 
throws, and the offense had been readjusted to take full 
advantage of both Baugh's passing and Battles' running. 

Football fever really reached epidemic proportions 
in Washington in late November, 1937, when 24,702 wild- 
eyed converts to the pro game cheered as a pass from 
Baugh to Malone helped the Redskins to victory over the 
champion Packers. 

The next Sunday the 'Skins went to New York to meet 
the Giants for the divisional championship, and some 
10,000 Washingtonians went along with them. They de 
scended on Broadway in the morning and paraded noisily 
behind a brass band, shouting and brandishing Indian 

In his dressing-room talk before the game, Flaherty 
told his boys how they could have won the previous year if 
they had had a passer. "You've got one now," he said, 
"the best in the world. 

"I don't know whether the Giants are out to get Baugh 
or not," he went on. "All I know is that I'm holding ten 
other guys on this team responsible for Sammy's safety. 
If anything happens to him, you'll hear from me!" 

Nothing happened to Baugh. But plenty happened to 
the Giants. Sammy threw fifteen passes and completed 
eleven, and when the Giants deployed to stop his throw 
ing, Battles ran through the disorganized defense on 



touchdown gallops of 75 and 76 yards. On each run Baugh 
threw a key block to remove a tackier from Cliff's path. 
When the two had completed their depredations, the final 
score was Redskins, 49 Giants, 14. The Redskin players 
maintained that "Turk" Edwards was terrific that day if 
he didn't knock down at least three men on a play, he'd 
want to run it over again. 

"The best part of it," says Marshall, glowing with the 
memory, "was our homecoming to Washington that night. 
About 10,000 fans were on hand at the station although 
it was midnight and raining." 

Thus the Redskins found themselves in another cham 
pionship play-off, this time against the mighty Bears. 
They arrived in Chicago on the heels of a blizzard and in 
the midst of a sub-zero wave. Chicago fans, who had seen 
Baugh lead the College All Stars to victory over the 
Packers before the start of the season, were eager to see 
him again, but they wondered what the weather would 
do to his aim. They discovered to their sorrow it hampered 
him very little. 

The weather had moderated by kick-off time, but the 
field, although it had been protected by tarpaulins and 
straw and attempts had been made to thaw the surface 
with asphalt burners, was frozen and slippery. The game, 
however, was hot enough right from the start. 

On his first play from scrimmage, with the ball in play 
on the Washington 9-yard line, Baugh dropped back as 
though to punt but double-crossed the Bears with a short 
pass to Battles, who caught the ball in the flat and raced 
42 yards. A few plays later he went 7 yards on a reverse 
to a touchdown. The Bears tied it in just four plays and 
scored again on a pass to lead 14-7 at the half. 



Then Baugh took charge. First he passed 55 yards to 
Millner for a score and, after the Bears had scored again, 
passed to Millner once more for 78 yards and a touch 
down. Then, with the title in the balance he passed 35 
yards to Ed Justice for the points that made the final 
score Washington, 28 Bears, 21. For the day his record 
was 34 passes attempted, 17 completed for 347 yards. 

With the world's championship as a reward for his 
first season in pay-for-play football, Baugh turned to base 
ball as he had planned, reporting to the camp of the St. 
Louis Cardinals as an infielder. Just how good he was can 
best be told in the words of Eddie Dyer, who saw him in 
training camp and later managed the Cards. 

"When he was working out around third base, we had 
another rookie at shortstop," Dyer recalls. "You could 
hardly tell 'em apart. They looked like twins in appearance 
and action. The shortstop was Marty Marion, and any time 
anybody looks anything like Marion he must have a lot 
of ability." 

Sammy remained in baseball most of the season, play 
ing with Columbus and Rochester, but one day when the 
Rochester club was in Baltimore he visited Washington 
and signed a three-year contract with the Redskins. Then 
he went back to Baltimore and quit baseball for good. 

For most of the' next fall it seemed he had made a 
poor decision in his choice of careers. He was harassed 
by one injury after another, and at one time he was hurt 
so badly, it was believed he never would play football 
again. That was when, in a game against the Eagles, he 
was carried off the field with a severely damaged left 
shoulder. One of the nation's top surgeons said after ex 
amining him in the dressing room: "That boy is through. 



He'll never play again. He may never be able to use 
the arm again." He did, though, long before the season 
was over, only to be hurt again. It was no wonder, there 
fore, that the 'Skins did not retain their title. 

They came startlingly close to another championship 
in 1939, however, through a couple of fortunate circum 
stances. For one thing, Riley Smith retired and Baugh 
was assigned the signal-calling job, a task at which he 
proved as adept as he was at throwing a football through 
the eye of a needle. For another, the Redskins experienced 
one of the most fortunate draft selections imaginable, 
coming up with the nucleus of what was to be a succession 
of great teams halfbacks Dick Todd and Wilbur Moore 
and linemen Dick Farman, Steve Slivinski, and Clyde 

Todd, a smallish fellow for the rugged pro game, was 
as elusive as a wraith. He was also Baugh's best friend. 
Indeed, they were so inseparable that Dick McCann, then 
a Washington newspaperman but now general manager 
of the Redskins, once said that the Redskin publicity de 
partment, in answering requests for Baugh's personal ap 
pearances, used to say somewhat irreverently: "Baugh 
will be there Todd willing." 

Despite an injury that side-lined Baugh through a 
couple of games, the Redskins went into the final game of 
the regular schedule in a deadlock with the Giants. Each 
had a record of eight victories, one defeat, and a tie the 
latter a scoreless affair in which the old rivals battled each 
other to no avail. The Giants won the second and de 
cisive meeting when "Bo" Russell's disputed kick went 
astray as recounted elsewhere under the Giants' record 
of achievements. 



The following year the Redskins won the Eastern 
title with a 9-2 record only to have the season crumble in 
ashes as the Bears rolled up that never-to-be-forgotten 
73-0 score. Oddly, that horrible shellacking didn't dis 
courage either the Redskins or the fans, the advance sale 
for the 1941 campaign reaching an all-time high. It wasn't 
until *42, however, that the 'Skins were to achieve another 

They opened that season with a 28-14 victory over the 
Steelers, which was unique for only one reason that 
Sammy Baugh, the old pass-master, was on the receiving 
end of one for the first and only time. It was a trick play 
concocted by Baugh and Todd. The latter took the ball 
on what appeared to be a routine swing wide around end, 
but before he was to cut downfield, he stopped and threw 
a pass across the field at a sharp angle to Baugh. Sammy 
caught it and scampered gleefully for 39 yards and a 
touchdown. Or so he thought. But a whistle had blown 
and the Redskins were penalized 15 yards for committing 
some unnecessary bit of violence against the person of 
one of the Pittsburghers. 

The year was unique in another way, too, for the 
Redskins lost their only decision of the season to a team 
that didn't so much as make a first down against them! 
The team was the old Washington nemesis, the Giants, and 
the game was played in a heavy rain at Griffith Stadium. 
So sturdy was the Redskin defense that the New Yorkers 
made only one yard by rushing, yet so unusual were the 
day's developments that the Giants won the ball game, 

The Giants scored in the early moments on the only 
pass they completed all afternoon. It was a 30-yard toss 



from "Tuffy" Leemans to Will Walls, who ran another 
20 yards to the goal line. The Redskins battled back to 
tie the score, but in the third period O'Neal Adams inter 
cepted a pass by Dick Poillon and ran 66 yards to a 

"One yard!" Marshall stormed as he surveyed the situa 
tion. "Gadzooks, I could make more yardage than that 
just by falling down!" 

The Redskins completed the schedule with a record of 
ten victories and that one defeat, and then prepared to 
play host to the Bears, who had stormed unbeaten through 
eleven games and were being hailed as supermen. They 
might have gone into the record books as such but for 
a simple trick of psychology employed by Flaherty. The 
Washington coach simply chalked in large white figures 
on a blackboard in the Redskins* dressing room this brief 
but impressive message: "73-0." That was all the incentive 
needed to inspire such survivors of the 1940 massacre as 
Farman, "Ki" Aldrich, Clem Stralka, Baugh., and others. 
They came onto the field demanding revenge and they 
got it. 

The Bears scored first when Lee Artoe, a big tackle, 
pounced on a fumble and lumbered to a touchdown, after 
which the try for point went wide. The Redskins brought 
the next kickoff back only to their 12-yard line, and the 
spectators began to wonder if another slaughter was in the 
making and if history was about to repeat itself. But 
Baugh, on the first play, caught the Bears flat-footed with 
a tremendous quick-kick (his specialty) that rolled dead 
on the Bears' 5-yard line. 

With that kick Baugh had said in effect: "Here's the 
ball. Let's see what you can do with it. We can score later 



on." And score the Redskins did, first on a pass from 
Baugh to Moore and later on a plunge by Andy Farkas. 
Bob Masterson converted after each and the 'Skins were 
home free, 14-6. They had exacted their full measure of 

They rubbed salt into the Bears' wounds again early in 
1943. By this time Flaherty was in the Navy and "Dutch" 
Bergman was serving as head coach. Many of the great old 
Redskins were at war, too, but others still remained, chief 
among them the amazing Baugh. Sammy was hurt before 
the Bear game, however, and George Caf ego started in his 
place, directing the team on a drive that carried to within 
18 yards of the Chicago goal line. Then Baugh and Moore 
trotted in as substitutes. Obviously the stage was set for 
this passing combination to perform its specialty. That 
is what the fans thought. And the Bears, too. Instead, as 
Baugh faked the expected pass, Moore, who had made a 
false start downfield, swung around behind Baugh, took 
the ball on the ancient Statue of Liberty play, and raced to 
a touchdown. The Bears never recovered from that shock 
and lost, 21-7. 

The Redskins continued their rampage until their 
record read six victories and one tie. They had played 
seventeen games without a defeat in two seasons. Then 
inexplicably they slid into a slump and lost three in a 
row, two to the Giants. What had seemed to be a cake- 
walk to a championship now became a battle royal in the 
form of a play-off game with the Giants, the third meeting 
between the teams in as many weeks. Here again psy 
chology was to play a major role as Bergman assayed a 
daring gamble. 

In the clubhouse as the players prepared to take the 



field, the coach stepped up to Baugh and roared: "I know 
you already have bought your ticket for home. You don't 
think we can win. You don't think we can win this one 
and go on to the championship play-off. Well, you're 
yellow! Yes, yellow!" 

That did it. The Redskins were mad. Baugh was mad. 
And all played their heads off to achieve a 28-0 victory. 

Bergman afterward admitted he never once ques 
tioned Baugh's courage. He called him a truly great 
competitor. "But/' he chuckled, "I did believe our boys 
were down in the dumps, and I thought that was the best 
way I could fire 'em up." 

The Redskins didn't stay in a fired-up mood for the 
play-off game against the Bears. Baugh was knocked cold 
early in the game and sat out most of the action as the 
Chicagoans raced to a 41-21 decision. 

Bergman quit after this season, and the job was offered 
to "Turk" Edwards, who declined. It was then that Mar 
shall brought in De Groot and hired Shaughnessy as an 
advisory coach. Their arrival, of course, meant the in 
stallation of the T-formation. All this was new to Baugh. 
He not only had to master the intricacies of ball-handling 
and a new system of signal-calling, but he had to change 
his passing style. He had been accustomed to taking a 
direct snap from center and backing up, facing the op 
position at all times as he surveyed the field for his 
receivers. Now, under the T, he had to fake his handoffs, 
then step back and take a quick look for his receivers. 

During one early game he told the ends, in the huddle, 
to go deep and crisscross. He told the halfbacks to fan 
out and then buttonhook. The fullback looked puzzled, 
do I do?" he asked. 



"I don't know," said Sammy, "just don't get in my way 
when I go back to pass." 

Baugh didn't like the T-formation and he didn't like 
the idea of having to learn it, but it was a job and he 
tackled it as he did any other one. By 1945 he had it licked. 
And he had licked enough opponents to place the Redskins 
in another championship play-off, this time against Cleve 
land. Along the way to the title fray he had enjoyed a 
sensational afternoon against the Giants, passing for two 
touchdowns, running 71 yards with an intercepted pass, 
batting down two New York passes in the end zone, and, 
as safety man, making no less than seven tackles. 

It was unfortunate that Sammy should be the goat 
of a 15-14 Redskin defeat in that ice-coated title game 
in Cleveland against the Rams, told in detail earlier. He 
attempted a daring pass from behind his goal line and the 
ball hit the goal post and rebounded into the end zone for 
an automatic safety the two points that decided the ball 

With that freak happening luck seemed to turn its 
back on the Redskins. Never since have they won a 
championship, or even been a serious contender. They've 
tried numerous coaches Edwards, John E. Whelchel, 
Herman Ball, Dick Todd, and "Curly" Lambeau but' 
somewhere the winning formula has been misplaced. 

Through the dark days, however, Baugh remained a 
shining light. The years rested lightly on his shoulders 
as he continued to add new achievements to what was 
already an unparalleled passing record. Strangely, he en 
joyed particular success against the Chicago Cardinals, 
even when the Big Red was riding high on the champion 
ship road in 1947. 


Ernie Pinckert 





Wayne Millner 

Wilbur Moore 

Sammy Baugh 

George Preston Marshall 





A. G. "Turk" Edwards 
Tackle and Coach 

Dick Todd 

Cliff Battles 


Before the game with the Cardinals that year, Baugh 
was presented with an automobile. After the ceremony 
Joe Tereshinski, Redskin end, said: "There's the greatest 
football player who ever lived. We ought to show him 
what we think of him. Let's see that he doesn't get any 
dirt on his pants today!" 

The field was muddy, but die Redskins did just what 
Tereshinski had suggested. Not a Cardinal laid a hand 
on Sammy as he threw 33 passes and completed 25 for 
355 yards and 6 touchdowns. The Redskins won, 45-21, 
in one of the major upsets of the year. 

Five seasons later, as a highlight of his final campaign, 
Baugh drove the Cardinals daffy once more as he com 
pleted eleven passes in succession for two touchdowns that 
assured the Redskins a 23-7 upset triumph before Sammy 
was ejected from the game for taking a punch at Don 
Joyce, huge Chicago lineman. 

That was perhaps the only time Sammy Baugh ever 
resorted to fist-slinging. He did damage enough merely 
by throwing the football. Once a rookie end with the 
Giants fetched Baugh a vicious punch to the nose after 
he had thrown a pass. Samrny remonstrated, advising the 
lad to play football and forget the rough stuff. Shortly 
afterward, again after the pass had been thrown, the 
rookie sent a fist into Baugh's face. 

Sammy called the signal for another pass and cau 
tioned his fullback not to attempt to block the overly 
enthusiastic rookie. Sam waited until the roughhousing 
lad was almost upon him, then let fly with the football 
squarely into his face! 

There was no more rough stuff. Unfortunately, there 
are no more Sammy Baughs, either. 






BERT BELL'S first contact with professional football came 
one day in the early twenties when, strolling down Broad 
Street in Philadelphia, he chanced to meet Lou Little, 
Heinie Miller, and Lud Wray, all former teammates at 
Pennsylvania. The three were promoting a game against 
the Canton Bulldogs in Baker Bowl but were running 
short of ready cash. Their immediate problem was how 
and where to feed and house the athletes. "Well," said 
Bell, "what am I in the hotel business for if I can't help out 
some old pals? Bring them over to my hotel, as guests/' 

That was the first time Bert Bell lost money in pro 
football. It wasn't the last. The game kept dealing him 
one swift kick after another in the wallet, almost to the 
very day he was named commissioner of the sport in 
1946. But Bert, who was quite a back in his days at Penn, 
knew how to fall and bounce up unhurt. And it is an 
odd twist of fate that the sport which kicked Bell around 
so unmercifully should enjoy its greatest era of prosperity 
under his leadership! 



Lou Little still rates Bell the most popular captain he 
has known in football. Bell led one of Perm's finest teams, 
and it was his play against Bucknell that led Cardinal 
Mercier, witnessing his first football game, to call it 
"tres joli" Football to Bell was, and is, fun. Once, on the 
way to a game against Michigan, the Penn squad was 
tense to the point of jitters. Dr. Frank B. Hancock, the 
team physician, opened a huge black bag fairly bulging 
with pills, medicines, and instruments. Bert examined the 
contents, then asked loudly: "What's Michigan going to 
do, Doc, use blackjacks on us?" 

Penn relaxed. It also won the game, 10-7. 

Had not he loved football more, Bell might have been 
in the social register or perhaps a leading politician. His 
father was attorney general of Pennsylvania. A brother 
was the state's lieutenant governor and served a twenty- 
day term as governor when the incumbent vacated to take 
a seat in the United States Senate. A brother was a justice 
of the state supreme court. Bert once was asked to run 
for mayor of Philadelphia but declined, with the com 
ment: "Sorry, but I can't kiss babies." , 

His contact with pro football was renewed in 1932 
when his friend George Marshall called him on the tele 
phone. Marshall confided he was eager to purchase a pro 
franchise and wanted a recommendation for the job of 
head coach. Bell without hesitation named his pal, Lud 
Wray. So Wray went to Boston with Marshall, but not 
for long. The two just didn't hit it off. The big break came 
when Marshall suggested Wray send in a certain play. 

The coach bridled. "If you want to run the club," he 
stormed, "111 go sit in the stands.** 
"Go ahead," replied Marshall. 



Less than a year later, Wray and Marshall combined 
to lead Bell into the game. 

"You'll like the pro game," Wray told him. And not 
long thereafter Marshall suggested he buy the franchise 
of the old Frankford Yellowjackets. On July 9, 1933, the 
Frankford franchise was declared forfeited and awarded 
to Bell and Wray, who paid $2,800 for it. 

Sixteen years later a group of citizens was to pay 
$300,000 for the club, but there was little indication of 
such a boom in value during the Bell regime. In three 
years the Eagles, as the team had been named, lost $80,- 
000. Only Bell remained of those who had invested 
heavily in the team, and Wray still hung on as head 
coach, but in 1938 Bell took over the coaching reins as 
well. Indeed, he was football's closest approach to the 
storied one-man-band. He was owner, coach, general 
manager, business manager, ticket manager, auditor. He 
did almost everything but sweep out the offices and tape 
the players before the Sunday games. 

The low point of his career came in 1939 when the 
Eagles were scheduled to meet Brooklyn in Municipal 
Stadium in Philadelphia, a vast acreage that seats more 
than 100,000 people. Rain fell in torrents on Saturday 
and continued through Sunday. Bell logically wanted to 
call off the game, or at least arrange a postponement until 
such time as the floods receded and the gridiron re 
appeared from beneath the water. However, Dan Top 
ping, owner of the Brooklyn club, had promised to take 
a friend to the game and was determined the friend 
should not be disappointed. And so the game went on. 

Topping and his friend sat warm and comfortable in 
an enclosed automobile parked along the side line. There 



were perhaps fifty other people in the stands and they all 
converged upon the press box for shelter. There they, 
like the gentlemen of the press, ate red hots and drank 
hot coffee on Bert Bell! 

During the eight years he owned the Eagles the club 
never won more than five games in a single season, and in 
1939-40 it won only two of twenty-two, yet the Eagles 
were always colorful and interesting and boasted many 
of football's most picturesque figures. Bell kept going 
through shrewd trading of "names" for "horses," schedule 
concessions, and, when all else failed, a stubborn refusal 
to concede defeat. 

What lured Bell into pro football in the first place, 
besides his inherent devotion to the game, was the im 
pending repeal of the Pennsylvania blue laws that pro 
hibited Sunday sports events. Bell's Eagles had the 
number one license to engage in professional sport on 
Sunday in Philadelphia, and battled the Bears to a 3-3 
tie on November 10, 1933, even before the governor had 
signed the bill making Sunday pastiming legal. 

There were no plush traveling accommodations for 
those early Eagles. They didn't fly high. They went by bus. 
In 1934, for instance, they made a road trip to Green Bay, 
Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh by bus. They'd drive along 
until they saw a likely-looking, level field, where they'd 
pause for practice. They'd stop in small-town hotels or 
high schools to bathe. The bus driver doubled as equip 
ment manager. Still, the team managed to win four and 
lose seven for the season. 

Chuck Hajek, former Northwestern center, had the 
unique distinction that season of being the first and prob 
ably the only seventy-five-minute player in history. 



"We were playing an exhibition game in Reading," 
Hajek recalls, "and the field was frozen solid. Part of it 
extended over the skinned portion of the baseball dia 
mond and the footing was impossible. I was the only 
center on the squad of twenty-one men, so I was recon 
ciled to sixty minutes of play. The second team played the 
entire first half, with me at center, but the weather was 
so cold Bell decided it would be wise for the first team 
to warm up during the intermission. So I ran signals with 
the Varsity* for fifteen minutes, then played the entire 
second half." 

In 1935 the Eagles were joined briefly by one of the 
most unusual figures ever to soar like a skyrocket into the 
sports limelight and drop as quickly. He was Edwin 
"Alabama" Pitts, a husky lad whose athletic prowess first 
came to public attention while he was serving a term in 
Sing Sing prison. 

Following his pardon, the 185-pounder played the 
last two months of the baseball season with Albany, then 
turned his attention to football. He joined the Eagles as a 
halfback, and the day he reported to the training base 
at Chestnut Hills Academy, some 10,000 fans were on 
hand to see him, so great had been his ballyhoo. 

His first real test came in an exhibition game in old 
Baker Bowl. The Eagles looked terrible in the first half. 
They trailed 0-7 at the quarter and 0-13 at half time. 
Coach Wray was in a fury as he harangued his players 
during the intermission. He paid off two players and 
ordered them out of uniform. He upbraided the rest as 
a useless lot of "dog meat." When the second half began 
he took only eleven men onto the field, leaving the rest in 
the clubhouse, but not long afterward Jim Leonard, 



former Notre Dame halfback, was injured and a rush call 
was put in for Pitts. 

Only there was no Pitts available. "Alabama" was in 
street clothes and departing from the clubhouse in a rage. 
Bell asked why. 

"Well," said Pitts, "I've been around a lot and in 
some pretty rough places. I've been called a lot of bad 
names. But, by golly, nobody is going to call me 'dog 
meat!' " 

Bell talked the irate Pitts into simmering down and 
getting back into uniform. When he finally got into the 
game, he caught the first pass thrown to him for a sub 
stantial gain. Unfortunately, however, his talents weren't 
of National League caliber and after two games he was 
released, to lapse once more into obscurity. 

The next season Bell engineered one of his best deals, 
getting Bill Hewitt, the Bears' great end, for Sam Francis, 
Nebraska backfield star. Hewitt had been around the 
pro wars for a time, but he was far from through; and 
his aggressive leadership made the Eagles a team to be 
reckoned with even if they didn ? t win often. 

In one of his first games against his old teammates, 
the Bears attempted to discourage Hewitt as quickly as 
possible. They sent three blockers against him on the 
first play. Hewitt went down, but bounced back up, then 
turned to the three Bears. 

"That's a silly play," he laughed. "Three men on one 
end! What's the matter with you guys? Haven't you any 
confidence in yourselves?" 

Once in 1938 the Detroit management made a serious 
tactical blunder. In the official game program Hewitt was 
referred to as "double ugly." Hewitt was infuriated and 



all but ripped the Lions apart as the Eagles scored a 21-7 
upset to knock Detroit out of a chance to tie for the 
Western division championship. 

Hewitt caught one pass from Dave Smukler and tossed 
a lateral to Joe Carter, the other end, for a touchdown. 
He snared another pass from Smukler for a score and 
disrupted the Lion offense with his headlong charges and 
vicious tackling. A Detroit newspaper account of the 
game said: "Hewitt was never better as he carried the 
Eagles along on his play and sophomoric enthusiasm." 

Hewitt was irrepressible even in his later years. Once 
Stan Baumgartner, Philadelphia sports writer and former 
major-league pitcher, was officiating an Eagle game and 
slapped a 15-yard penalty against Hewitt. 

"What was I doing?" Bill demanded. 

"You know dam well what you were doing," said 

"Hah!" chortled Hewitt. "J ust as lousy an official as you 
are a writer!" 

In addition to Jim McMurdo at tackle, one of Hewitt's 
ablest helpers in sparking the downtrodden Eagles was 
Dave Smukler, burly fullback from Temple. Smukler had 
a mind of his own and wasn't one to be tied down by club 
rules, with the result that Bell frequently found it neces 
sary to assess fines against him. Bert finally sold him to 
Detroit for $5,000 and tackle Ray George and end Joe 
Wendlick. But Smukler never played for the Lions. In 
stead, he enlisted. 

Bell, who was by then part owner of the Steelers, 
heard in 1944 that Smukler was about to be released from 
service, so repurchased his contract from the Lions for 
$100. Bert then reached Smukler by phone in Los Angeles, 



and the veteran fullback agreed to play again provided 
Bell would furnish railroad fare and a Pullman compart 
ment to the training camp at Hershey, Pennsylvania. 
Bell complied with the request. A week later the players 
assembled, but Smukler was still missing. Finally a letter 

"I wish I still had it," Bell chuckles, <c but its theme was 
roughly this * .... all these ridiculous fines .... 
the Army taught me one thing .... hurray for old 
"Smuck" and to hell with Bell .... I won't be there/ " 

Smukler ended his playing career with the Boston 
Yanks during that season of 1944. 

The Eagles won only two games in the seasons of '39 
and '40, but they made the league sit up and take notice 
because of the passing accomplishments of Davey 
O'Brien, the mighty mite from Texas Christian, one of the 
smallest players ever to play among the huge boys in the 
cash-and-carry circuit. 

Bell was so concerned lest little Davey be massacred 
and the Eagles' top drawing card suddenly trumped that 
he had him insured with Lloyds of London so that the 
Eagles were guaranteed $1,500 for any game he missed 
through illness or injury. O'Brien never missed a game. 

Little Davey had two truly exceptional days, both 
in losing causes. In 1939 in a game against the Bears, 
O'Brien played 59 of the 60 minutes and threw 36 passes, 
of which 21 were completed for 247 yards. Only one was 
intercepted. The Bears, big Joe Stydahar in particular, 
were so impressed by the little man's skill and courage 
that they'd pick him up and pat him on the back after 
each play. 

A year later O'Brien staged a tremendous individual 



duel with Sammy Baugh, his predecessor as passing king 
at T.C.U. The game meant nothing to the Eagles and a 
divisional title to the Redskins, yet the favored Wash- 
ingtonians had the devil's own time pulling a 13-6 de 
cision out of the fire. Wee David, in a desperate attempt 
to slay the football Goliath facing him, threw a record 
total of sixty passes and completed thirty-three of them 
without a single one being intercepted. He played all but 
seventeen seconds of that bruising battle, and when he 
left the field, he received a standing ovation from the 
hostile Washington crowd as a valedictory to a brief but 
brilliant career. 

O'Brien and Bell bowed out of the Philadelphia story 
together. After the 1940 season Bell sold one-half interest 
in the Eagles to his pal Art Rooney, who, in turn, disposed 
of the Steelers" franchise to Alexis Thompson. Then the 
franchises were switched, Thompson taking his to Phila 
delphia and Bell and Rooney moving theirs to Pittsburgh. 






LEX THOMPSON, scion of a wealthy steel family, held 
control of the Eagles through 1948. He lost money, which 
didn't distress him too much because he had plenty; and 
he won two divisional titles and one world's champion 
ship., items he valued far more than money. He also got a 
broken leg in his first season as boss, but that didn't dis 
tress him too much, either, for he had had plenty of them, 

Thompson took his first squad of Eagles to a training 
camp in Wisconsin, and it was there that he found himself 
embroiled in a game of touch football. On his side was 
huge Vic Sears, a first-year tackle from Oregon State, who 
was destined to remain as a star in pro football far beyond 
the Thompson era. Sears had wrenched a knee and so 
was out of uniform, but he couldn't resist the opportunity 
to have a little fun out of the game of "touch." Sears sent 
Thompson out for a pass and pointed one in his direction, 
but impishly threw it behind his boss's back. "Lex" twisted 
to attempt the catch, stumbled, and broke his leg. 



That was an old story to Thompson. As a freshman at 
Yale in 1932 he was a member of the soccer team playing 
Harvard. Yale had the game safely tucked away in its 
trophy chest with a minute to play, but Thompson, 
charged with the old college try, wasn't willing to relax. 
He dashed down the field and delivered a sturdy kick 
at the ball just at the exact moment a big Harvardite 
was smitten with the same idea. Each kick landed 
Thompson's on the ball, the other on "Lex's" shin, break 
ing the bone. He spent the next several months on 
crutches because, as one writer phrased it, the Thompson 
calcium deposits were not as rich as the Thompson bank 

By way of celebrating his nineteenth birthday again 
in the final minute of play "Lex" was blocked out of a 
play in a game of lacrosse and again suffered a broken leg. 

Thompson was a noted bobsledder. He went down the 
famous Cresta run at St. Moritz at the age of thirteen, 
and not even a succession of serious crack-ups could dim 
his interest in this hazardous pastime. A crash in 1937 
wrenched his knee sufficiently to put him on crutches, 
another injured a kidney. The following year he had three 
major crack-ups in Switzerland and in 1940 he hit a tree 
at Lake Placid. This time he was paralyzed from the 
waist up for three days, but soon was zooming down the 
bob run once again. 

"Lex" Thompson thus had proved himself able to "take 
it," the first requisite of the owner of a pro football 
franchise. He further demonstrated his qualifications by 
hiring a coach who knew pro football, Earle "Greasy" 
Neale, whom he had learned to admire as backfield coach 
at Yale. Shortly after purchasing the Eagles in December 



of 1940, Thompson saw Neale in a restaurant in New 
Haven. "How'd you like to coach the pros?" he asked. 

"I'd like it fine," Neale said. And thus was a winning 
combination made, albeit it was some time before it 
really began to click. 

One incident typifies the kind of man "Greasy" Neale 
is. It occurred in 1912 when he arrived at West Virginia 
Wesleyan, and someone asked him what position he was 
going to try out for on the football team. 

"I'm not going to try out for anything," Neale retorted 
with some heat. "I'm going to play end!" 

He did, too. And he played it so well that in his 
debut as a college player he scored the touchdown that 
gave Wesleyan its first victory in history over West 

Confidence, Neale contends, is the greatest asset a 
football player can have. "If a player doesn't think he's 
the best man on the field," he says, "I don't want him on 
my team." 

Neale's unique nickname was given him by a lad 
named Homer Stanton, who lived in a log cabin with his 
widowed mother in Neale's home town. Young Earle 
called Homer "Dirty" and in retaliation he became known 
as "Greasy." 

His coaching career began way back in his high-school 
days in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Friction in school 
circles forced the coach to resign, and Neale, who acted 
older than his tender years, was named coach and captain. 
His team won one game, thanks to his own 70-yard 
touchdown run. 

After finishing his football career at Wesleyan, he 
turned to baseball and played in the major leagues with 



Cincinnati and the Phillies. He was a member of the 
world-champion Reds of 1919 and batted a lusty ,357 in 
that series. He wasn't a "picture" ball player, but he was 
an effective one. 

"Neale was what I'd call a "sick cat' player/' says Larry 
Goetz, the National League umpire. "You'd see him at 
the plate and you wouldn't give a nickel for him, but 
somehow in the clutch he'd bloop one over the infield or 
dribble one through the infield for a hit that won the game, 
Or he'd make an impossible catch to save the day." 

He made one in the Polo Grounds one afternoon while 
with the Cincinnati Reds, spearing a line drive with one 
hand just before the ball would have hit the wall. In 
stead, Neale himself hit the wall so hard he was knocked 
cold. But he held onto the ball so tightly they had to pry 
it from his fingers. 

While playing baseball, Neale was doubling in brass 
as a football coach, and on New Year's Day in 1922 he led 
his Washington and Jefferson team into the Rose Bowl, 
where it held favored California to a scoreless tie. He was 
always experimenting with the unorthodox and unusual, 
and in '22 introduced the first naked reverse. His W. and J. 
team was playing Lafayette, coached by Dr. "J oc k" 
Sutherland. Neither had lost a game in two years. 

Lafayette led, 13-0, at the half, but during the inter 
mission Neale instructed his players in a new play. He 
told his quarterback to turn his back to the line of 
scrimmage and edge his way to the left after faking to a 
crossing halfback. The quarterback expected to be killed 
but, to his surprise and relief, found himself alone and free 
to run for a touchdown. He tried the same play again 
later with the same result, and W. and J. won, 14-13. 



Neale first called this the "dance play" because of the 
motions of the quarterback. 

This was the first season in which it was legal to run 
or pass for the extra point. Herb Kopf, who much later 
was to coach the Boston Yanks, turned this new rule 
into victory for Washington and Jefferson. Kopf noticed 
that the entire Lafayette team was massing to block the 
kick for the winning point. 

"Make it good," he cried. This was the signal to aban 
don the kick and to throw a pass. The ball was snapped 
from center to Wayne Brenkert, who passed to Kopf for 
the point. 

That triumph gave Neale a vast sense of satisfaction, 
for he and Sutherland never were friendly. Once years 
later Sutherland said to him: " 'Greasy, 5 1 don't think you 
like me." 

"No, Doctor, I don't," Neale replied. "I admire you 
and I respect you. But I don't like you." 

"I'm sorry," said "Jock," smiling. "I've always liked you 
and I like you all the more for what you just said." 

Neale's experimenting caused another furor in 1925 
when, coaching West Virginia, he introduced a shifting 
line defense in a game against Georgia. It sent Harry 
Mehre, the rival coach, scurrying to his old mentor, Knute 
Rockne, for the answer to a maneuver which had beaten 
a superior Georgia team. Incidentally, Neale also is 
credited with giving "Pop" Warner the triple-pass play 
and the fake reverse. 

Neale first used the triple pass, which actually was 
a double reverse, against West Virginia in 1917. "Dad" 
Snedegar, a string-bean quarterback who stood 6-3 and 
weighed only 143 pounds, started off tackle from the 



tailback position, but passed the ball off to the wingback, 
Myron Hymes. Hymes ran to the opposite side, then 
handed the ball to Ed Fisher, the end, who came back 
again in the direction in which Snedegar originally had 
started. The next day Neale met Warner on a train and 
diagrammed the play for him. 

In 1930 Neale was coaching an independent pro team 
called the Ironton Tanks, which won four of five exhibi 
tion games against teams from the National League, much 
to the embarrassment of the big leaguers. The night before 
the game with Portsmouth, which finished second in its 
division, some fan asked "Greasy" if he intended to play. 
Neale allowed that he did. 

"You're too old," the fan said, whereupon Neale made 
three wagers. He bet (1) that he would play, (2) that 
he would play the full sixty minutes, and (3) that he'd 
score a touchdown. He won all three, quite a feat for a 
chap of thirty-eight. But that is "Greasy" Neale. 

When Neale and Thompson took over the Eagles, they 
had little except a franchise. "All we had," Neale recalls, 
"was half a football squad that Bell and Rooney didn't 
want. We didn't even have a number one or a number two 
draft choice, since Bell had traded away the rights to them 
before Thompson had bought the club." 

Neale had always been an advocate of the single-wing 
offense, but after watching the Bears crush the Redskins 
under that 73-0 point avalanche in 1940, he decided his 
future lay in the T-formation. He obtained the movies of 
the Bear-Redskin game and studied them minutely, hour- 
by-hour, week-by-week, month-by-month. Someone asked 
him if he'd borrowed his style of play from the Bears. 
"No/* he replied, "I stole itl I decided that any system 



which could score seventy-three points in one game must 
be a pretty good system. So I studied those movies and 
lifted the plays right out of them and put 'em in my book!" 

With the help of the collegiate statistics, Neale man 
aged to draft twenty ball players for his first Eagle team. 
He hadn't scouted any of them and knew nothing about 
them except what the statistics told. Fortunately, he 
managed to sign eleven of them, an exceptionally high 

Fortunately, too, one of the players left over from 
the Bell-Rooney regime was a back named Tommy 
Thompson, who had had the misfortune to lose the sight 
of an eye when hit by a stone thrown by a boyhood 
playmate. He had been a tailback at Tulsa, He now 
became Neale's great experiment as a T quarterback. 

"I should last twenty years at this job/' Tommy en 
thused once. "If it were allowed, I'd take a rocking chair 
onto the field with me and just direct traffic with such 
fellows as Steve Van Buren and 'Bosh' Pritchard running, 
and Joe Muha blocking/' 

Thompson didn't really hit his peak as a T pilot until 
after the war. In 1948 he completed 141 of 246 passes 
for 1,965 yards and 25 touchdowns; and in '47 he com 
pleted 106 for 1,680 yards and 16 touchdowns. Thomp 
son's percentage of intercepted passes was extremely low. 
He made almost a fetish of keeping his throws out of 
enemy arms. 

"An intercepted pass," he said, "is the opposing team's 
greatest defensive weapon. More games are lost by passes 
which go into the hands of the opposition than by long 

Thompson and Neale enjoyed a rare sense of mutual 



understanding. They'd argue, but always in good humor. 

Once the Eagles had the ball inside the enemy 20- 
yard line and Neale signaled for a particular play. Thomp 
son didn't think it the proper one and shook his head. 
"Greasy" was insistent. 

In the huddle Thompson told his teammates: "If the 
old goat wants it, let him have it. And if anybody goes 
offside or misses a block, I'll shoot him." 

The play went for a touchdown. Thompson trotted to 
the bench and shook hands with Neale. "Congratulations/' 
he said, "you were lucky that time." 

Neale, in his first season, quickly learned that it pays 
to keep your guard up at all times in pro football. The 
Eagles were battling the strong Green Bay Packers on 
even terms for a half and were trailing by only a touch 
down as the game neared its end. A sustained drive swept 
the ball to the Green Bay 5-yard line, where it was first 
down and goal to go. Philadelphia fans were envisioning 
a tie score and a moral victory. Thompson passed and the 
ball dropped to the ground in the end zone. 

'That's okay," Neale shouted to his players, "we still 
have three downs to go." 

The echo of his words hadn't subsided when the 
referee walked out to the 20-yard line and set the ball 
down. Neale went charging onto the field. 
"What's going on?" he demanded. 
'The ball touched the ground in the end zone/' said 
the official, "and according to the rules it is a touchback." 
"Greasy" knew the collegiate rule didn't read that way, 
and he hadn't had time to go over the pro code with a 
fine-tooth comb. He asked that "Curly" Lambeau, the 
Packer coach, be called in. 



"Whatever he says, goes," said Neale. 

"Why, 'Greasy/" said Lambeau in shocked surprise, 
"everybody knows that's a touchback." 

And so the ball reverted to the Packers on the 20-yard 
line, and the Eagles' hopes for a tie ball game were 
dashed. As soon afterward as he could, Neale reached for 
a rulebook and discovered the official had erroneously 
deprived the Eagles of a scoring chance. 

"Greasy" waved the book under Lambeau's nose. 
"Look," he shouted, "what it says in the book about a 
touchback. Do you see anything about losing possession 
of the ball when a pass is incomplete in the end zone?" 

"Well, what do you know," clucked Lambeau. "It just 
goes to prove what I always say a fellow is always learn 
ing something new in this pro-football business!" 







IF A FEMININE FAN had paused to powder her nose during 
one stage of the Eagles-Redskins game of 1942, she would 
have missed at least two touchdowns. The third period 
of that game, which went to Washington by 30-27 on 
Bob Masterson's field goal which flashed over the cross 
bar just as the final gun sounded to end a frantic after 
noon of football, was one of the wildest on record. Four 
touchdowns were scored in a space of three-and-one-half 
minutes, three in a two-minute period, and two in only 
twenty-five seconds! 

Andy Farkas launched the touchdown jubilee with a 
20-yard scoring jaunt that put the Redskins ahead, 20-6, 
but "Reds" Pollock took the subsequent kickoff on his 
3-yard line and scampered 97 yards. Dick Erdlitz 

The Eagles kicked off, and the 'Skins returned to a 
point near mid-field from where Sammy Baugh tossed 
a short pass to "Chug" Justice, who made the catch but 
fumbled when tackled. Rupert Pate, Eagle guard, 



scooped up the loose ball, tucked it under his arm, and 
ran 53 yards to a touchdown, to which Erdlitz affixed 
the extra point that tied the score at 20-20. 

But the fun wasn't over. The Eagles kicked off to 
Ray Hare, who sprinted straight up the middle of the 
field for 95 yards and another touchdown, to put the 
'Skins out in front again! 

The Eagles won only two of eleven games that year, 
and the next season, because of the wartime manpower 
shortage, merged with the Steelers to form a hybrid 
team known as the "Steagles," which won five and lost 
four, The following year the Eagles were back on their 
own with a nucleus of nineteen players left over from 
the "Steagles." Eight of them were 4-F and three had 
received honorable discharges from military service. Two 
of this group of nineteen were to rank with the game's 
all-time greats tackle Albert "Whitey" Wistert and 
guard Frank "Bucko" Kilroy. 

Wistert was the best of three brothers who made 
gridiron history at Michigan. At 215 pounds he was light 
for a pro tackle, but he was as aggressive as a fighting 
cock and an exceptional downfield blocker. He became 
the key man in the Eagle line and the team captain in 
its years of championship performance. He was a glut 
ton for work, too. He'd drill with the Eagles in the 
morning, hurry over to Riverside, New Jersey, to coach 
the high-school team in the afternoon, and then dash back 
to Philadelphia to attend a night meeting with the Eagles. 
In his spare moments he laid the groundwork for a 
profitable insurance business. 

Kilroy came to the team from Temple University, a 
chubby, pink-cheeked lad who looked more like a choir 



boy than a football player. Appearances were never more 
deceiving. During the next decade Kilroy earned a repu 
tation as one of the roughest, most durable and capable 
defensive players in the business. He came by his flaming 
competitive spirit honestly, for his father was decorated 
for heroism by four governments during World War- 1 
and his great-uncle Matt was a stellar pitcher for the old 

The step that really started the Eagles on the high 
way to success, however, was the drafting of Steve Van 
Buren, a halfback from Louisiana State University. Van 
Buren was born in Tela, Honduras, of American parents 
who died while he was young. Steve was raised by his 
grandparents in New Orleans, and it was there he began 
to take an interest in football. He played end as a senior 
in high school, but was switched to the backfield as a 
collegian because of his tremendous driving power. 

When the Eagles opened their season against the 
Cardinals, Van Buren was suffering from an attack of 
grippe, but was in the starting line-up. The first time he 
was handed the ball he took out around his right end 
and kept going for 47 yards and a touchdown. Neale 
promptly pulled him out of the game, and he sat on 
the bench until the fourth quarter when he reappeared 
for five minutes. In those five minutes he carried the ball 
three times for 20, 10, and 8 yards, then caught a pass 
from Roy Zimmerman for a touchdown. After that display 
he returned to the bench and his sick bed. 

Van Buren's inaugural performance was typical of 
his ability to rise to any occasion. A broken leg sustained 
in an exhibition game put him out of action in 1952, but 
during the eight previous seasons he established nearly all 



the mileage records in the book, He carried the ball 
1,320 times for 5,860 yards, an average of 4.4 yards per 
carry. In a game against the New York Bulldogs in 1949 
he carried the ball 35 times, a mark topped only by Harry 
Newman of the Giants fifteen years earlier. In '49 Van 
Buren carried the ball 263 times for 1,146 yards, both 
league records. In 1945 he scored 18 touchdowns, 16 of 
them by running plays. 

There was nothing fancy about Van Buren's running. 
He simply powered his way through and over taclders, 
and most of his yardage was amassed on a straight shot 
over or outside his right tackle. His thrusts were so un 
stoppable he was an almost automatic selection for an 
All-League halfback position until he was slowed by in 
juries in '50 and '51. 

If Van Buren had a fault, it was running with his 
head down, a habit common with ball carriers who like 
to blast their way forward. Neale attempted to correct 
him, and before sending him into a game with the 
Packers, advised him to keep his head up so he could 
see where he was going. A few plays later Steve came 
out of the game with a huge "mouse" on one cheekbone 
and the makings of a black eye. 

Tve just found out," he told Neale, pointing to the 
eye, "why I've been keeping my head down all these 

Van Buren was at his best in the clutch. When yards 
were needed, he'd get 'em. Neale was visibly worried 
before a Redskin game in 1949 and was fretting So 
obviously that Steve finally asked: "If I promise to get 
one hundred yards on the ground Sunday, will you 
stop worrying?" 



Neale nodded. And Van Buren not only was as good 
as his word, he was better. He doubled the yardage he 
had promised. 

With Van Buren leading the way in a brilliant fresh 
man year, the Eagles of 1944 were soaring, but not quite 
high enough. They were unbeaten in their division, but 
finished as also-rans because of two ties and a 28-7 
defeat at the hands of the Bears. The next year they de 
feated the Redskins, 16-0, to tie them for the divisional 
tide, only to be upset the next week by the Giants, whom 
they had beaten soundly earlier. The score was 28-21, and 
the Redskins took the title, losing to the Rams in the 

The 1946 season was a disappointment but in '47 the 
Eagles at long last won the Eastern divisional title. 
Tommy Thompson was back from the war and on the 
beam once again with his passes. Van Buren was run 
ning in his copyrighted fashion, and he had backfield help 
in speedy "Bosh" Pritchard and Russ Craft and rugged 
Joe Muha. Pete Pihos had come up from Indiana to 
take one end opposite Jack Ferrante, a veteran who didn't 
have the benefit of college football training. And a vast 
amount of help came, rather unexpectedly, from Alex 
Wojciechowicz, veteran center who had been acquired 
the previous year from the Lions on waivers. "Wojie" 
was like a bloodhound in scenting an opposing team's 
play and being in the right spot at the right time to 
smear it for a loss. Like good wine, he seemed to im 
prove with age, and he was thirty-one when the Eagles 
obtained him. 

Another newcomer who played a vital role in the 
rise of the Eagles was Vic Lindskog, Stanford center, who 



joined up in 1944 and remained, frequently playing fifty- 
five or more minutes a game, until lie joined the coaching 
staff in 1952. 

The Eagles won their sectional crown the hard way, 
beating the powerful Packers, 28-14, to tie the Steelers 
and then beating the Pittsburghers, 21-0, in the divisional 
play-off. It was in the game against the Packers that Van 
Buren picked up 96 yards to eclipse the single-season 
record for yards gained rushing, a mark set by Beattie 
Feathers of the Bears in 1934. Steve also shocked the 
Packers with a 101-yard kickoff return, only to have the 
play nullified by a clipping penalty. 

The play-off against the Cardinals in Chicago was 
the first of three championship games in which the Eagles 
were to be involved in as many years, and in each the 
weather conditions were abominable. The first was played 
on an icy field, the second in a blinding blizzard, the 
third in a torrential downpour. If and when the Eagles 
fight their way to another championship, they fully expect 
it to be in a tornado. 

The Cardinal game touched off a ruckus over the 
type of cleats worn by the Eagles. They were the con 
ventional, hard-rubber cleats which had been worn down 
and then turned on a lathe and shortened to afford better 
footing on an icy surface. The Eagles said they had worn 
the same cleats in two previous games, but the Cardinals 
protested, claiming they had heard the Eagles filing the 
cleats to dangerous sharpness. 

A half-hour before the kickoff Umpire Harry Robb 
inspected the cleats and said, "There's nothing wrong 
with them." Fifteen minutes later, while the Eagles were 
warming up ? Robb informed them that Hugh L. Ray, 



supervisor of officials, had declared them illegal. The 
Eagles, in turn, protested vigorously, claiming Ray had 
not inspected the cleats personally and, besides, they had 
no time to change footgear. 

During the first five minutes of play the Cardinals, 
clad in sneakers, twice requested Referee Bill Downs to 
inspect the cleats of an Eagle player. Both times the 
Eagles were penalized 5 yards for wearing "illegal equip 
ment," and die individual at fault was banished to the 
bench for new shoes. 

The Cardinal defense that day held Van Buren in 
check as he seldom had been, yielding him only 26 yards 
in eighteen trips, but meanwhile Thompson was setting 
records with his passing. He tossed one scoring pass of 
53 yards to Pat McHugh and set up two other touch 
downs with his bull's-eye throws. In all he completed 
27 of 44 passes for 297 yards, both new records. His 
brilliance availed nothing, however, because the Cardi 
nals kept breaking loose for long touchdown runs. 

Once Charley Trippi tore away for 44 yards to score 
from scrimmage, and later he lugged a punt 75 yards to 
the goal line. Twice Elmer Angsman raced through for 
runs of 70 yards to bring the final score to 28-21. His 
second and game-winning run came just after Muha's 
magnificent punt had gone out-of-bounds on the Chicago 
10-yard line. Paul Christman fooled the Eagles with a pass 
to Trippi on the 30, then Angsman ripped up the middle 
and outran McHugh to the goal line. 

Neale, in those tense days of championship and near- 
championship football, installed a bonus offer of $5.00 
for each enemy pass intercepted. Once, in Washington, 
halfback Ernie Steele made a desperate lunge for a 



Sammy Baugh pass. He almost held it, but the ball 
slipped off his fingertips as he struck the ground near 
the side line where Neale was prancing up and down, 
waving a five-spot and chanting: 
"A-tisket, a-tasket, you lost this, you lost this!" 

The season of 1948 started on a discouraging note 
as the Eagles lost one and tied one, but then the team 
began to roll and swept through eight straight opponents 
to clinch a second divisional tide. With the crown safely 
tucked away and with Van Buren and Craft side-lined 
with injuries, they wound up the regular schedule with 
a totally unexpected defeat at the hands of the Boston 
Yanks, 37-14. Most notable victory was a thumping 45-0 
score piled up against the Redskins with Van Buren 
making three of the touchdowns and the Eagles rolling 
up a total of twenty-eight first downs to equal what was 
then the record. 

The final game with Boston added Steele and Jay 
McDowell, tackle, to the injured list, but both were in the 
starting line-up, as was Craft, when the whistle sounded 
for the championship game against the Cardinals. For 
a time, however, it seemed the whistle would be delayed 
for a day or perhaps a week. Philadelphia, on Sunday, 
December 19, 1948, was staggered by one of the worst 
storms in history. As the blizzard grew in intensity near 
kickoff time, Commissioner Bell left it up to the players 
themselves whether or not the game should be postponed. 
The boys, keyed to such a fever pitch they ignored the 
storm, agreed to play; but before they could do so they 
had to pitch in and help the ground crew remove the 
tarpaulin from the field. The covering had been buried 
so deep in snow the groundkeepers couldn't budge it. 



Despite the impossible conditions a crowd of 36,309 
huddled around the frosty arena in Shibe Park. In a 
twinkling after the tarpaulin was removed, the field was 
covered with snow and the yard lines and markers com 
pletely obliterated. It was a miracle that Ronald Gibbs, 
the referee, and his crew of officials could keep track of 
where the ball was and what was going on. 

At the very outset the Eagles gambled on a long pass, 
and it clicked from Thompson to Ferrante for 65 yards 
only to be recalled because of an off-side penalty. After 
that the teams sloshed and mushed and struggled, punting 
frequently and waiting for a break. It came at last in the 
fourth period when Kilroy plopped on a fumble by Ray 
Mallouf, the Cardinal quarterback, on Chicago's 17-yard 
line. From there the Eagles boomed to the only score of 
the day, Van Buren bucking the final 5 yards and Cliff 
Patton kicking the extra point. The Eagles were knocking 
at touchdown's door, on the Cardinal 2-yard line, when 
the game ended. 

Van Buren carried for 98 yards on 26 trips and Pritch- 
ard for 67 on 16, but it was Thompson, the passer, who 
really surprised. Tommy completed only 2 of 12 passes, 
but he ran 11 times for 50 yards on sneaks and fake 
pitchouts, gaining more yards than the Cardinals' great 
trio of Trippi, Harder, and Angsman. 

Owner ""Lex" Thompson missed seeing that game and 
the realization of his dream a championship for Phila 
delphia. He was in a New York hospital recovering from 
an appendectomy. One month later he sold his team 
and was out of the football business. He had lost money 
regularly, but he had won a championship. 

Thompson's interests were purchased in January of 



1949 by one hundred Philadelphians headed by James P. 
Clark, wealthy trucker. Each held one $3,000 share and 
the setup had an extra $50,000 as working capital. 

The Eagles of 1949 added a powerful young lineman 
in Chuck Bednarik, Penn's All-American center, who 
quickly developed into one of the league's top line 
backers. But of all the squad members, the busiest un 
doubtedly was Otis Douglas, thirty-eight-year-old tackle 
who doubled as trainer. Douglas also wrestled a bit, 
served as a coach at Drexel, ran a boys* summer camp, 
had an oyster bed about ready to produce on a com 
mercial scale, was a licensed airplane pilot, a house 
builder, a house mover, a plumber, carpenter, bricklayer, 
and dynamiter. As one teammate put it: "The guy wastes 
no time sleeping!" 

The Eagles wasted no time, either, in salting away a 
third consecutive Eastern title with a record of eleven 
victories in twelve games as Van Buren bettered his own 
ground-gaining record. They met the Western champions, 
the Rams, in a drenching rain at Los Angeles. The weather 
put a severe crimp in the Rams' passing attack led by 
Bob Waterfield, so the bull-like rushes of Van Buren 
kept the Eagles in possession of the ball much of the 
time. He carried thirty-one times for a net of 196 yards, 
a feat that caused Neale to say: "Maybe Tied' Grange 
was better than Van Buren was today. Maybe Bronko 
Nagurski was better. But I'll bet nobody ever ran better 
than Van Buren did in this mud." 

Van Buren didn't account for either touchdown in 
that 14-0 Eagle victory, however. Pihos scored the first 
on a 31-yard pass from Thompson. Ed Sldadany, at end, 
blocked a punt and recovered for the other touchdown. 



One o the defensive standouts of that team was 
Fran Reagan, one of Penn's all-time football greats. He 
had played five games as a pro with the Giants in 1941 
before he was called into active duty with the Marines. 
He returned in '46 but in the title game between the 
Giants and Bears suffered a broken wrist and had some 
facial bones shattered. The Eagles secured him in '49 
as a punter and defensive specialist, a role he filled until 
he joined the coaching staff in 1952. 

The first game of the 1950 season was the "big one" 
football fans had been waiting for. It brought together the 
Eagles, champions of the established National League, 
and the Cleveland Browns, champs of the defunct All 
America Conference. The battle of champions, however, 
was scarcely a contest. Van Buren was hurt and didn't 
play. The Eagles' offensive burden fell on the slender 
shoulders of Clyde "Smackover" Scott and he, too, was 
hurt severely early in the game. The Eagles promptly 
fell apart, and the Browns coasted to a 38-10 victory. 
That defeat marked the end of an era, for the Eagles 
never fully recovered, losing half of their twelve games, 
five of them by a combined total of only 18 points. 

One of the lighter moments of the season came during 
the training camp grind at Hershey, Pennsylvania. It 
seems that Walt "Piggy" Barnes, giant guard, had a 
$300 set of china choppers that were his pride and joy. 
Before entering scrimmage he handed them for safe 
keeping to Ed Hogan, Jr., fourteen, son of the Eagles' 
able publicitor. To be sure nothing happened to them, 
young Ed wrapped them in a jersey but failed to notice 
that another Eagle soon grabbed up that jersey, donned it, 
and swept into action on the field. 


Steve Van Buren 




Vic Sears 

Davey O'Brien 

Vic Lindskog 

Jack Ferrante 

Tommy Thompson 

Abisha "Bosh" Pritchard 



Joe Muha 

Earle "Greasy" Neale 

Albert "Whitey" Wistert 

Pete Pihos 

Frank Kilroy 


Barnes, an ex-weight-lifter and reputed to be one of 
the ten strongest men in the world, might have made 
mincemeat of little Ed had it not been the young man's 
birthday. As it was, the two joined in a diligent search 
which was rewarded when the false teeth were found in 
perfect condition. Thus was young Ed Hogan able to eat 
his fourteenth birthday cake. And "Piggy" was able to 
eat. Period. 

As the Eagles toppled from the heights, so did 
"Greasy" Neale. In February of 1951 he was released from 
his contract, which still had a year to run, and "Bo" 
McMillin was hired to succeed him. McMillin, however, 
already had been stricken with a fatal illness. He became 
violently ill while watching the Eagles in their opening 
game against the Cardinals. He returned to lead them 
against San Francisco, but was ordered to the hospital 
the next day, turning the reins over to Wayne Millner, 
his assistant. Millner became head coach on October 16, 
but couldn't withstand the pressure and resigned early in 
1952. He was replaced by Jim Trimble, another McMillin 
aide, who kept the Eagles in the running for the divisional 
title until the last day of the season a feat that won him 
an accolade as "Coach of the Year" and a new contract. 







THE CHICAGO CARDINALS haven't enjoyed too many mo 
ments in the spotlight, but in the matter of longevity no 
team in professional football can compare with them. 
They had their inception back in 1899 and have been ac 
tive continuously ever since. Chris O'Brien and his brother 
Pat organized them as a neighborhood team on Chicago's 
Southwest Side and they first were known as the Morgan 
A.C., playing on a field at Fifty-second and Morgan 
streets. Eventually the name was changed to the Normals 
after they moved their home grounds to Normal Park at 
Sixty-third and Racine. 

Still later, Chris O'Brien stumbled upon a bargain in 
bright-red jerseys, so the team became known as the 
Racine Cardinals because of the color of the uniforms 
and the location of the park. This led to no end of 
confusion, however, when a team from Racine, Wisconsin, 
also called the Cardinals, entered the old American As 
sociation. It was then that O'Brien dropped the prefix 
"Racine" in favor of "Chicago/' 



Marston Smith was the coach at that time, and his 
line-up included such names as Lennie Sachs, Willis 
Brennan, "Gob" Buckeye, "Ping" Bodie, and Nick Mcln- 
erney. The pay was often a paltry $5.00 a game and, as 
O'Brien loved to point out later: "Everyone wanted to 
play and nobody wanted to sit on the bench, so some 
times you had to pay more money for a bench warmer 
than for a fellow who played sixty minutes/' 

O'Brien's master stroke as he sought to build the 
Cardinals as an attraction in the league was the signing 
in 1920, at a wage of $300 a game, of John L. "Paddy" 
Driscoll, former Northwestern backfield luminary who 
had starred with the famed Great Lakes eleven of 1918. 

Driscoll had played baseball with the Cubs and was 
serving as an assistant coach of the football team at Ms 
Alma Mater in 1919. The owner of the Hammond pro 
team chanced to ask Leo Fischer, Chicago sports write^ 
if he thought Driscoll would play baseball at Hammond* 
"Baseball?" scoffed Fischer. "Why not get him to play 
football?" So it came about that Driscoll was approached 
with a proposition calling for $50 a game. 

"Make it $75," said "Paddy/' The Hammond promoter 
stuck to his guns, so "Paddy" finally agreed to the $50 
fee. In his first game against a Pine Village team that 
included Jimmy Phelan, he ran 63 yards for a touchdown 
and kicked a field goal. 

"Before I even took a shower I demanded $75 for my 
next game," Driscoll chuckles. "I got it, too." 

In that next game, against the Cornell-Hamburgs, 
"Paddy" made one of the greatest drop kicks in history, 
but he has no recollection of it. He had been hit on the 
head during a pile-up, and no one realized he was "out 



on his feet" when he called for a forward pass. To the 
complete surprise of his teammates he didn't pass, but 
booted a 55-yard drop kick squarely over the crossbar. 

In 1920 the Cardinals and the Staley A.C. met in 
the first game of what was to become Chicago's most 
spirited football series. The Cards won it 7-6 on a kick 
by Driscoll, but when a rematch was arranged, Driscoll 
was on the side lines and the Cards lost 10-0. The feud 
between the teams grew in intensity in 1921 when the 
Staleys moved to Chicago and claimed the championship 
for that season. 

"We've been trying all year to get a game with the 
Staleys/' O'Brien wailed, adding that the Staleys could 
claim the league title but that the Cardinals would claim 
the championship of the city of Chicago. Finally the two 
rivals met in mid-December and struggled to a scoreless 
tie in the snow as Driscoll missed one drop kick and 
Arnold Horween missed two. 

Arnold and Ralph Horween, former Harvard stars, 
played with the Cards under the name of McMahon 
because their parents didn't want them to play profes 
sional football. To make things more confusing for Cardi 
nal fans, there was a J. McMahon on the team, too. He 
actually was Johnny Hurlburt, ex-Chicago back, who took 
the alias because A. A. Stagg, his collegiate coach, was an 
implacable foe of pro football at the time. 

After that season Driscoll entered into an agreement 
with George Halas and "Dutch" Sternaman to join the 
Staleys, which were becoming the Bears, each to have a 
third interest in the ball club. Driscoll still has a copy of 
the written agreement. However, President Joe Carr ruled 
that "Paddy" rightfully belonged to the Cardinals, so he 



remained with them through 1925, serving as player- 
coach for two years. 

By way of making the Messrs. Halas and Sternaman 
doubly unhappy over the turn of events, "Paddy" per 
sonally kicked the Bears into defeat in two games in 1922, 
making two drop kicks for a 6-0 decision and kicking 
three more in a later fray that went to the Cards, 9-0. 
He kept right on kicking and running and passing the 
Cardinals to victory until they were declared champions 
in 1925 after adding a couple of games to their schedule 
to thwart the challenge of Pottsville a procedure that 
brought considerable adverse comment from the press, 
a fine of $1,000 against the Cardinal management, and a 
batch of heartaches among Pottsville fans who thought 
their heroes had won a clear title by beating the Cardi 
nals 21-7 in a game that was press-agented as one for 
the championship. 

Among the players who helped Driscoll fashion an 
11-2-1 record that year were "Red" Dunn, Eddie An 
derson, Fred Gillies, and Roger "Ike" Mahoney, a halfback 
who perhaps was the only player who ever had a song 
written about him. The Cardinal Quartet, a barbershop 
harmony group that used to sing at all Cardinal home 
games, had a special number entitled "Over the Line 
with Ike Mahoney." Dunn is the same who later starred 
with Green Bay; Anderson went on to coaching fame; and 
Gillies became a leading steel executive. 

As a player Gillies, former Cornell tackle, played nine 
years in the league and coached the Cards in one season. 
For years he has served the Bears as a dollar-a-year coach. 
Uniforms, back in 1925, weren't tailored to measure and 
the pants were ordered strictly by waistline measure- 



ment, a fact that worked considerable hardship on Gillies* 
knees. His legs were so long that the pants wouldn't 
cover the knees, so even on icy and snowy fields Fred 
might as well have been playing in kilts. 

On October 11, 1925, Driscoll wrote his name in the 
record books by booting four drop kicks for field goals in 
a game against Columbus. The kicks traveled 23, 18, 50, 
and 35 yards. "Paddy" also had a hand, or a foot, in a 
&-6 triumph over Green Bay. He kicked one field goal 
and further distinguished himself in a unique sort of 
way by fumbling a pass from Dunn squarely into the 
hands of Eddie Anderson, who ran for a touchdown. 

When Coach Norm Barry's Cardinals lost that twelfth 
game of 1925 to Pottsville, a team whose line-up in 
cluded such names as Walter French, Herb and Russ 
Stein, Charley Berry, and Tony Latone, Pottsville cele 
brated a title because of a 10-2 record compared to the 
Cardinals* 9-2-1. But they celebrated without thought 
of Chris O'Brien's guile. He simply added two easy games 
to the schedule, won them, and claimed the crown. 

This bit of monkey business stirred Don Maxwell to 
editorialize as follows in the Chicago Tribune: 

After announcing that last Sunday's game with Pottsville would 
decide the pro league title, the Cardinals were beaten. The public 
took them at their word and assumed they had lost the title. 

Now it seems that the championship game didn't mean any 
thing. Chris O'Brien, with a natural desire to win the title what 
ever that means has scheduled two extra games for his team. 

One was played yesterday with Milwaukee. Admittance was 
free. But the game was a farce. The Cards won 59-0. It wasn't a 
football game, it was a practice. Certainly a weird game to base a 
championship on. 

Saturday the Cards play again. This time they plan to walk 



over Hammond and grab another hold on the flag. The game will 
be better than yesterdays for Hammond is a stronger team than 
Milwaukee, but the motive of the Cardinals is the same. 

Meanwhile Pottsville is celebrating a title victory. The town 
is decorated with bunting and members of the team have been 
given gold medals. They think they have won the league cham 
pionship. They don't know Mr. O'Brien. 

Pro football has a chance to get a firm footing. Persons who 
never thought of attending a professional game were lured by the 
fame of Grange. They saw finished football and were pleased. They 
planned to go again. 

Are the bosses of the pro teams trying to discourage these new 
fans? Pro football has the players. What it lacks is organization 
and bosses with common sense. 

The extra game against Milwaukee brought addi 
tional and even more costly repercussions, for it was 
discovered that four high-school players had appeared in 
the Milwaukee line-up. In taking disciplinary action 
President Joe Carr fined the Milwaukee club $500 and 
gave the management ninety days in which to dispose of 
its assets and retire from the league. The Cardinals were 
fined $1,000 and placed on probation for one year. Said 
Carr: "I could not find where the management of the 
Cardinal team had guilty knowledge of the status of the 
boys who played, until after the game had been played." 

It was during this controversial season of 1925 that 
"Red" Grange made his pro debut in a scoreless tie with 
the Cardinals, "Paddy" Driscoll keeping the Illini redhead 
in check by punting away from him. He punted twenty- 
five times and only three times did the ball go to Grange. 
On the other occasions it went out-of-bounds or to Joe 
Sternaman. "Kicking to Grange," Driscoll explained, "was 
like grooving one to Babe Ruth," 



As the teams were leaving the field at the close of 
play, a large portion of the crowd booed lustily. "Paddy" 
paused to talk to his wife. 

"I hate to hear the fans boo a young man like Grange," 
he said. It wasn't his fault/' 

"Don't feel sorry for Grange/' Mrs. Driscoll replied. 
"They're booing you!" 

If Chris O'Brien caused the league some headaches 
by his schedule antics in 1925, he more than atoned 
the next year. Indeed, there are many who believe he 
actually saved the league and killed off C. C. Pyle's new 
"outlaw" circuit by steadfastly refusing to join it despite 
some flattering offers. O'Brien wasn't a wealthy man, and 
to help save the National League and finance himself over 
the crisis, he sold his greatest asset "Paddy" Driscoll 
to his greatest rivals, the Bears. The price was said to be 
$10,000. And what did Driscoll do in his first game 
against his old Cardinal teammates? He kicked three 
field goals, one of 50 yards, scored the only touchdown, 
and added the extra point! 

O'Brien never could locate a back to take Driscoll's 
place in the hearts of South Side football fandom, but he 
did strengthen his line tremendously by adding Fred 
"Duke" Slater, huge Negro tackle from Iowa, who became 
a Chicago judge and one of football's all-time greats. 

Paul Minick, ex-Iowa guard, recalls the day he broke 
in against Slater, who was already a pro veteran. 

"My future, the money I needed, was dependent on my 
showing in this first game," he says. "'Duke' knew this 
and since his team already was winning when I entered 
the game, he took pains to make me look good. When the 
game was over, people told me how I had played Slater 



even. But I knew it was just another example of 'Duke's' 
kindness of heart." 

In July of 1929 O'Brien sold the Cardinals to Dr. 
David J. Jones, Chicago city physician, for a reported 
$25,000, and the good doctor immediately dashed off a 
revitalizing prescription he signed Ernie Nevers. 

Nevers, the great Stanford fullback of 1925, was a one- 
man football team. He could do everything well. He could 
run, he could kick, he could pass, and he could play on 
defense. To top it off, he was an iron man. "Pop*' Warner 
always maintained Ernie was the finest player not only 
that he ever coached, but that he ever saw. 

"As a high-school lad at Superior, Wisconsin," Nevers 
says, "I didn't know a football from a squash. Irl Tubbs, 
the coach, used me for live bait in the tackling drills. I 
used to stand in the sawdust pit and let the other kids 
tackle and block me, and I wasn't allowed to move around. 
The only difference between me and a regular dummy was 
that I could talk and didn't have a rope around my neck." 

Nevers learned the game fast enough to win All- 
American acclaim in spite of bad luck. In 1925 he played 
only three minutes for Stanford because of a broken leg. 
He was on the mend and ready to face California when he 
broke an anklebone in practice. Stanford went to the 
Rose Bowl that New Year's Day and, a week before the 
game, the cast was removed from Nevers' ankle. Seven 
days later Ernie played the entire sixty minutes against 
Notre Dame and carried the ball thirty-four times for a 
net gain of 114 yards. 

In his first pro season he threw seventeen consecutive 
completed passes against Pottsville and scored 28 points, 
and against Hartford that same year he kicked five field 



goals in as many attempts in mud and rain. In twenty- 
nine consecutive games at one stretch of his career he 
missed only twenty-seven minutes of action and in his 
last campaign with the Cardinals in 1931 he played the full 
sixty minutes of nineteen games. 

Phil Handler, who served the Cards as player and 
coach for almost two decades, recalls an incident in 1931 
which illustrates Nevers' iron physique. The team was 
playing Brooklyn and was deep in its own territory. Nev 
ers had carried the ball and was on the ground. 

"The whistle had blown/' says Handler, "but some 
Brooklyn player crashed into Ernie and his knees ground 
into Ernie's back. We took time out, but when our two 
minutes were up, Nevers was still unconscious. The 
referee told us we could take two more minutes getting 
Nevers off the field. 

"Another Cardinal player and I hoisted Nevers between 
us and started for the bench. We were almost there when 
Ernie shook himself, looked at us dazedly, and mumbled: 
"What's going on? What are you doing to me?* 

"He wouldn't listen when we told him he was hurt 
and that we were taking him out of the game. He pulled 
away from us, crying, 'No, you are not taking me out/ 

"There was no use arguing with him. He was deter 
mined to play. And how he did! He called his own signals 
for sixteen consecutive plays until he scored a touch 

Nevers* greatest game, from the standpoint of per 
sonal satisfaction, was played against the Bears at Co- 
miskey Park on Thanksgiving Day, 1929. The Cardinals 
won, 40-6, and Nevers scored every point for his team, 
getting six touchdowns and kicking 4 extra points. 




DR. JONES HAD GUIDED the Cardinals through four seasons 
of indifferent success and expected to lead them for many 
more years when, one evening in 1933, he attended a 
dinner party aboard the private yacht of Charles W. 
Bidwill, through whose help George Halas had kept 
control of the Bears. In the course of casual conversation 
Bidwill asked, "Want to sell your ball club?" 

The doctor agreed he might, provided he could get 
his price, for these were depression days. 

<c Whafs your price?" Bidwill asked. 

"Fifty thousand dollars/* Dr. Jones replied and 
promptly dismissed the matter from his mind. A few days 
later the phone rang. 

"It's a deal/' said Bidwill. And for a moment Dr. Jones 
wasn't sure what he was talking about. 

Thus did professional football acquire one of its most 
colorful and enthusiastic owners, a man whose friend 
ships ranged from hoodlums to presidents, a man who had 
two confessed aims in Kfe to win a workTs football 



championship and the Kentucky Derby and who did 
neither, although the Cardinals did move to a title in the 
very year of his death. 

Bidwill was a man of many facets and many interests. 
At the time he bought the Cardinals he was president of 
the Chicago Stadium Operating Company, a director of 
the American Turf Association, secretary of the Chicago 
Business Men's Racing Association, president of a printing 
company, and owner of a racing stable. Later he bought 
controlling interest in the Hawthorne race track. 

The son of a Chicago alderman, he was born and raised 
within a few blocks of the old Cubs' park and as a young 
ster hobnobbed with such baseball heroes as Joe Tinker, 
Jimmy Sheckard, Orvie Overall, and 'Wildfire" Schulte. 
He often expressed a wish to own a major-league baseball 
team, but his only venture into baseball came in 1926 
when he and Cliff Trimble purchased the American 
Giants for $35,000. In their first season they cleared 
more than $60,000. 

"I guess that'll show those big leaguers," Bidwill 

Bidwill liked to live around men of the sports world, 
and for an educated lawyer who could toss eight-dollar 
words around at will, he often dropped into a "dese-dem- 
and-dose" lingo out of the side of his mouth. 'Where," 
he'd ask, "do you find better guys?" 

As boss of the Cardinals, Bidwill had a terrible time 
curing himself of a profound, long-standing devotion to 
the Bears. Tis said he often rooted for the Bears against 
his own team in the years when the Bears were winning 
titles and the Cards were going no place in particular. 
In 1941 the Bears, needing a victory in the final game 



of the season to earn a play-off position, were forced to 
rally in the closing minutes to snatch a 34r-24 decision 
from the Cards. Jimmy Conzelman, the Cardinal coach, 
was expecting a pat on the back and some words of 
approbation for the team's fine showing. Instead, Bidwill 
was wiping nervous perspiration from his forehead as he 
entered the clubhouse. 

"Whew!" he breathed. "That was a close one, wasn't 

As the Cardinals began to develop into title con 
tenders under the spirited leadership of Conzelman in 
the mid-forties, BidwQTs loyalty switched and he became 
his own team's most boisterous rooter. 

Tm getting over it," he said of his Bear loyalty after 
the Cards had beaten the Bears in 1946. "I knew it when 
I saw Marshall Goldberg score the last touchdown. 
That Halas can put me down alongside Lambeau, Owen, 
and Marshall right now." Those three were Papa Bear's 
most bitter foes. 

Paul Schissler, Milan Creighton, and Nevers preceded 
Conzelman as Cardinal coach under BidwilTs manage 
ment. None could find the championship formula although 
they produced good teams with such players as Frank 
McNally, Harry Field, Bree Cuppoletti, Pete Mehringer, 
Doug Russell, George Grosvenor, Hal Pangle, Bill Smith, 
Billy Wilson, Pat Coffee, Conway Baker, and Mike Miku- 
lak, a great defensive player who came out of Oregon 
and announced to Nagurski that he and not the "Bronk" 
was henceforth the league's best fullback. 

Gaynell "Gus" Tinsley, a great end and nephew of 
Jess Tinsley, an old Cardinal tackle, scored one of the 
most unusual touchdowns in history during the Creighton 



regime. It happened late one cold day in '37 at Wrigley 
Field. Darkness had settled until it was impossible, from 
the stands, to see the players save for the white pants on 
the Cardinals. Fans were building bonfires in the stands 
for illumination and warmth. Suddenly from near one 
goal line a pair of white pants streaked madly toward 
the opposite goal. A moment later the teams left the field. 

Investigation by puzzled sports writers revealed that 
Tinsley had run 96 yards for a touchdown on an end- 
around while the Bears were wondering what had be 
come of the ball. At that point the officials awarded the 
Cards the extra point without bothering with the formality 
of kicking it. Then the whole thing was called off with 
almost three minutes of playing time remaining. 

Tinsley was the league's leading pass receiver in 1938 
but quit the next year because of differences with Nevers, 
returning in '40 to wind up a short but brilliant career 
after suffering a knee injury. In '38 he caught forty-one 
passes and scored on runs of 98 and 97 yards on the payoff 
end of aerials. 

Cuppoletti, a chunky guard, drew his football in 
spiration from Johnny Blood. As a boy in 1924 he climbed 
a fence at Virginia, Minnesota, to see Blood play with the 
Duluth Eskimos. He was so impressed with Johnny's 
performance that he determined to become a football 
player himself. Finally, in 1936, he played against Blood. 
As they passed, "Coop" shouted: "Hiya, old folks. Go 
kinda easy oo my sons when they come up to this league, 
will you?" 

Blood didn't seem to appreciate the humor. 

Jimmy Conzelman, the Moses who led the Cardinals 
out of the football wilderness, had known pro football 



since 1920 when he played with the Staleys. In 1921 he 
joined the Rock Island Independents as a player, but 
during the course of a game with the Staleys, Walter 
Flanagan, the Rock Island owner, sent in word via a 
substitute that the coach had been fired and Conzelman 
was to take over. He thus became the only coach to take 
command in the middle of a game in which he was play 
ing. In 1923 he was player and coach for the Milwaukee 
Badgers, he later served a time as combination owner- 
player-coach of the Detroit Panthers, and then as player- 
coach with the Providence Steam Rollers. 

Conzelman's versatility is amazing. He is a pianist 
and composer, a lyricist, an author, a raconteur, and a 
masterful speaker. The commencement-day address he 
delivered at the University of Dayton during World 
War II was read into the Congressional Record and be 
came required reading at West Point. 

Jimmy of the silvery hair, twinkling fingers, and in 
fectious humor first took command of the Cardinals in 
1940 for a three-year stretch, then resigned to become 
assistant to Don Barnes, president of the St. Louis Browns 
baseball team. Phil Handler took over, and in 1944 the 
Cards were merged with Pittsburgh as a wartime mea 
sure. Handler was the boss the following season, then 
dropped back to an assistant's role as Conzelman returned 
for three years, two divisional titles, and one world cham 

When he regained the helm, Jimmy discovered he had 
a "dream backfield," a combination for which a coach 
would wait a lifetime. Part of it he had helped develop 
during his first term as boss of the Big Red, as Chicago 
learned to call the Cardinals. That part was Marshall 



Goldberg, called "Mad Marshall" during his collegiate 
days of Ail-American glory at Pitt. He came to the Cards 
in 1939 and spent most of the season on the bench watch 
ing his teammates take licking after licking. Coach Nevers 
said the Cards had to pass to win and Goldberg wasn't a 
passer, so 

Goldberg was really a "Mad" Marshall in November, 
1939, when he announced his decision to quit football. 
But when Conzelman took charge he changed his mind, 
turning out to be not only a dangerous offensive threat 
but an exceptional defensive player. He even learned to 
pass with fair precision so that in the first three games of 
1941 he completed five of six passes for 100 yards and a 

Goldberg made more farewell appearances than the 
divine Sarah Bernhardt. He retired for the second time 
after the championship season of 1947, but came back to 
play in the All-Star game the next fall. That, he said, was 
his definite swan song. But the lure of the game proved 
too strong, and he came back again to finish the season 
before making his retirement stick. 

The team that Conzelman welded into a championship 
unit in 1947 had two exceptional pass-catching ends in 
Billy Dewell and Mai Kutner; one of the game's great 
tackles in Stan Mauldin; potent guards in Garrard "Bus 
ter" Ramsey, Plato Andros, Ham Nichols, and Loyd 
Arms; three top-flight centers in Vince Banonis, Bill Black 
burn, and Bill Campbell; and, of course, the "dream back- 
field" of "Pitching" Paul Christman at quarter, Marlin 
"Pat" Harder at full, and Charley Trippi and Goldberg at 
the halves, with Elmer Angsman as replacement for the 
aging Goldberg. 



Next to Goldberg, Christman was dean of this explo 
sive combination. He joined the Cards in 1945 after his 
release from the Navy and at a time when the Cards had 
lost twenty-eight games in a row. His passing quickly 
restored them to life, for in five years with the Big Red 
he threw 1,014 passes and completed 453 for 6,751 yards 
and 51 touchdowns. In the title year of 1947 he hit on 
138 of 301 for 2,191 yards and 17 touchdowns. 

The game-breaker of the unit, however, was Trippi, 
the former Georgia All American whom Bidwill had 
snatched from the hands of the rival All America Con 
ference. The National League was fearful that Trippi 
might be grabbed by the new league, but Bidwill scoffed 
at these fears. "Stop worrying/' he advised. "I'm not 
worried, am I? Trippi isn't worried, either. He's a Cardi 
nal, I tell you." 

Following the Sugar Bowl game on January 1, 1947, in 
which he starred, Trippi was dining with his victorious 
teammates. He looked up late in the evening to see Dan 
Topping, owner of the All America Yankees, and Phil 
Handler of the Cards. Each was covering an exit to the 
ballroom and keeping an eye on Trippi, as well as each 
other. Chuckling, Trippi turned to his wife. 

"Come on, honey," he said, "lefs go home, so they can 
go home." 

A few days later the phone rang in Trippf s room. The 
caller was an agent of the Yankees. 

Td like to talk to Charley Trippi," the man said. 
"You'll have to speak to his lawyer," said the voice at 
Trippi's end of the line. "J ust a m i nute an d I'll call him." 

The Yankee agent promptly launched into a glowing 
dissertation on the advantages of being a Yankee, making 



a proposition of a combination baseball-football contract. 
It availed nothing. Trippi's lawyer was Charley Bidwill! 

Bidwill, however, was not destined to see Trippi play 
as a Cardinal nor to see his prize rookie lead the team to 
a championship. He died suddenly of pneumonia, at the 
age of fifty-one, leaving control of the team to his widow., 
Violet, and his business associate, Ray Bennigsen. 

The Cards and the Bears went into the final game of 
the 1947 season deadlocked for the divisional lead, and the 
Big Red whipped their old rivals, 30-21, in a furious 
game that actually was decided on the first play from 

It was a play that had its inception in a scouting report 
brought in by Handler and "Buddy" Parker. Judging from 
the Bears' defensive pattern against the Lions, these two 
figured that, on a pass play, the Bear halfback and safety 
both would cover the fleet and elusive Kutner. So they de 
cided to send Boris "Babe" Dimancheff downfield as the 
second possible receiver, figuring Mike Holovak, who was 
slower and less agile than Dimancheff, would cover him. 

One flaw developed in their well-laid plans. Mrs. 
Dimancheff was in the hospital awaiting the arrival of an 
addition to the family and was in somewhat precarious 
health, "Babe" didn't show up for practice until Saturday., 
the day before the game, so never had an opportunity to 
run the play in practice. 

"The first thing we had to do on Sunday," Conzelman 
explains, "was to win the toss. Luckily, we did. That gave 
us the chance to put the new play into use and try to catch 
the Bears by surprise." 

The Bears kicked off over the goal line and die Cards 
took possession on their 20. Dimancheff, who in fourteea 


FreS "Duke" Slater 



Stan Mauldin 

Charley Trippi 

Paul Christman 

Mai Kutner 

Marshall Goldberg 

Jimmy Conzelman 



John L. "Paddy" Driscoll 

Marlin "Pat" Harder 

Ernie Nevers 

Charles W. Bidwill 


previous games had been Trippfs replacement at left 
half, lined up at right half for the first time in his foot 
ball career. Trippi was at left, Christman at quarter, and 
Harder at full. Christman took the handoff from center 
and dropped back as Kutner and Dimancheff headed 
downfield. Dimancheff, as the Cards had planned, out- 
sped Holovak, caught Christman's pass in mid-field while 
in full flight, and raced on to a touchdown. The Bears 
never fully recovered from this quick knockout. 

The play-off game matched the Cards against the 
Eagles in icy Comiskey Park, and the "dream baekfield" 
proved a nightmare to the Eagles' new eight-man line 
defense, breaking through for long touchdown gallops 
and a 28-21 victory. In the first period Trippi bolted 
through on a quick opener and went 44 yards to score. 
Angsman, on a similar play, went 70 yards in the second 
period, and in the third Trippi brought a punt back 75 
yards to cross the goal line. In the final quarter Angsman 
repeated his 70-yard gallop. 

The next year the Cardinals won eleven and lost one 
in the regular season, the lone defeat being at the hands 
of the Bears, but in the title game the Eagles exacted 
revenge by winning, 7-0, in the midst of a blizzard in 

Through these two years of glory the Cardinals had 
been plagued by tragedy. It began with the death of 
Bidwill, continued with the death of halfback Jeff Burkett 
in an airplane crash later in 1947, and reached a climax 
when Stan Mauldin dropped dead in the clubhouse fol 
lowing the opening game with the Eagles in 1948. 

Mauldin's talent as a football player is best illustrated 
by an incident in the Eagles' training camp before the 



start of that season. Coach Neale showed the films of 
earlier Cardinal games over and over until Ernie Steele 
asked: 'What is this, coach? Are the Cardinals the only 
team we play this year?" 

"No/' said Neale, "I just want you guys to watch a real 
tackle play football. Number seventy-seven on the Cards. 
His name is Mauldin. Look how that guy plays football!" 

Mauldin's teammates suspected all was not well with 
him the night of that 1948 opener, for he asked to be re 
lieved in the first period and again in the third, something 
he never had done before. But no one suspected tragedy 
was approaching, least of all Alex Wojciechowicz of the 
Eagles, who reached out a helping hand to Mauldin after 
one fourth-quarter play, saying: "Here, you look more 
tired than I feel." 

After the game, a 21-14 Cardinal victory, Mauldin 
emerged from the shower bath and told Handler: "I feel 
pretty dizzy, coach." With those words he collapsed and 
died as his teammates knelt in prayer and tears. 

Conzelman was brokenhearted over the succession of 
ftiisf ortunes which had beset his greatest teams and retired 
again at the end of the season. Handler and Parker suc 
ceeded him as co-coaches, but the combination didn't 
click and in 1950 "Curly" Lambeau was brought in. He, 
in turn, failed to produce to the satisfaction of Walter 
Wolfner, who had married Bidwill's widow and become 
the managing director of the Cardinals. Joe Kuharich, a 
former Cardinal guard, lasted a year as Lambeau's suc 
cessor, then the job was turned over to "Jumbo Joe" 
Stydahar. The task of turning the Cardinals into a winner 
once again was a big one, but "Jumbo Joe" figured he had 
the size to swing it successfully. 




ONLY IN PRO FOOTBALL, and not often even there, can 
you find a player of such consummate skill, poise, and 
intelligence that his coach can confidently entrust the 
direction of the team's attack or defense entirely to him. 
That's why fans couldn't believe their ears when "Buck" 
Shaw, the silver-haired coach of the San Francisco Forty- 
Niners, said of Frankie Albert: 

"He's one of the best players IVe ever seen, and cer 
tainly the best quarterback I've ever worked for." 

When pressed, Shaw elaborated. "Yes, I said "worked 
for! In our system the quarterback is in charge on the field 
on Sunday afternoons, and it is up to the coaches to 
supply him with the players and materials that can make 
his strategy succeed. I love the job." 

Albert was the first player Shaw signed in 1946 when 
he set about the task of creating a football team for San 
Francisco and Owner Anthony J. Morabito. He saw in the 
little left-hander the qualities of leadership he wanted in a 
quarterback, and Albert more than justified his judgment. 



On the field Albert was boss of the Forty-Niners. He 
called his own plays, laid the groundwork of his own 
strategy, baited his own traps for unwary opponents, and 
then sprang them. Occasionally he would look to the 
bench for a suggestion or, while on the bench, he'd talk 
to an assistant coach on the press box phone about weak 
nesses in the enemy defense. But he ran both the show and 
the Shaw on Sundays. 

Dud De Groot, who has a long record of coaching ex 
perience, both collegiate and professional, once said of 
Albert: "When he is quarterbacking, it is like having a 
coach on the field. And that's giving the benefit of the 
doubt to the coaches!" 

During his early collegiate days at Stanford, Albert 
was a tailback and not too successful a one, but when 
Clark Shaughnessy took over as head coach and installed 
the T-formation, Albert quickly soared to stardom, leading 
his team into the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day of 1941. 
The Chicago Bears, because of their close affiliation with 
Shaughnessy, drafted Albert along with his backfield 
teammates, Norm Standlee and Hugh Gallarneau, but he 
never played for Chicago. Instead he went into the Navy, 
and when he was discharged, he elected to remain close 
to the scenes of his collegiate glory and signed with the 

Albert was a southpaw in everything but his thinking. 
He passed with his left hand, he kicked with his left 
foot, but his thinking was strictly all right Many times his 
strategy was a trifle unorthodox, but it was successful and 
you can't argue with success. 

Once in the old All America Conference days, when 
the Forty-Niners were playing the Los Angeles Dons, he 



completed four consecutive passes to Alyn Beak, a fine 
end. Next he called a running play, then switched back 
to that same pass play to Beals three more times. The 
Dons, each time, figured he wouldn't dare throw that 
pass again. But he did, and they were never ready for it. 

Frankie was one of the earliest advocates of the boot 
leg play, and one of its most adroit practitioners. He would 
fake a handoff to a halfback going to the right, cradle 
ihe ball behind his hip, and take off to the left with such 
slick sleight-of-hand grace that the defenders would be 
completely fooled. They'd go for the decoy while he went 
for the yardage. 

The Associated Press once snapped a prize photo show 
ing Albert, with a sly grin on his face, running smack 
between two Los Angeles players, both of whom were 
ignoring him and had their eyes glued on the halfback 
to whom he had faked a handoff. 

Albert was one of the few punters in the land who 
could kick a football while on the run. Occasionally, 
from punt formation, he would see the opposition relaxed 
and would run for good yardage, but if the defense 
pressed he could get his punt away while in motion. 
Only once did the maneuver backfire with disastrous re 
sults. That was in 1952, shortly before his retirement. 
The Forty-Niners had won ten straight games, five in ex 
hibitions and five in league competition, and were playing 
the Bears, whom they had whipped soundly a few weeks 
earlier, Albert pulled this optional run-punt play on 
fourth down and just failed to make the needed yardage. 
The Bears took possession of the ball, scored, and started 
the Forty-Niners on a losing streak that knocked them 
out of championship contention just at a time when the 



press was beginning to hail them as one of the great 
teams in National League history. 

There was once, however, when Coach Shaw himself 
stopped an Albert run. That was in 1948. The San Fran 
cisco team, fired with pennant fever, invaded Buffalo 
only to fall victim to another upset. Bison fans had been 
"riding" the Forty-Niners unmercifully all day, and as the 
players headed for the dressing room after the game, one 
overly enthusiastic rooter became particularly abusive to 
Albert and Nick Susoeff, an end. In the tumult that fol 
lowed, the fan went down, bleeding from the nose and 
mouth. Both Albert and Susoeff denied having struck a 
blow, but it was obvious that someone had belted the 
fan a good, solid punch. The fan swore out a complaint 
against Albert. 

The Forty-Niners were staying at East Aurora, New 
York, just outside Buffalo, and working out there in prepa 
ration for a game in Cleveland the next Sunday. When 
Albert read about his imminent arrest, he hastened to his 
room and packed his suitcase. He was walking through 
the lobby, bag in hand, a few moments later when Shaw 
sighted him. 

"Where are you going?" he cried. 

"Well," said Albert, "we're not far from the Canadian 
border. I figure they can't touch me there. I can move 
along the border and come down to Cleveland just in 
time to play next Sunday." 

"Put that suitcase down," Shaw ordered. "You stay 
right here." 

The coach then launched his own investigation of the 
incident among the players, phoned the chief of police in 
Buffalo, and extended an official apology on behalf of the 



team, the while being careful not to leave an impression 
he was blaming Albert or any other player. The Forty- 
Niners were merely sorry about the whole unfortunate 

The fan dropped his complaint and Albert picked up 
a new nickname "Lamster." 

Shaw's affection for smart quarterbacks was empha 
sized further after the 1950 season when the original 
Baltimore club folded. When the time came for the other 
clubs to share the Baltimore talent pool, Shaw grabbed 
Yelberton Abraham Tittle, who prefers to be known by 
his initials, simply as "Y.A." He not only was a good T 
quarterback, he could throw a long pass. Albert was better 
on the short ones. 

For most of the 1951 season Tittle sat on the bench 
while Albert was the sole engineer at the throttle for the 
Forty-Miners on offense. Shaw was making sure Tittle 
was thoroughly schooled in his style of play before going 
into action because "on our team the quarterback is the 
boss on Sunday afternoons." This wait-and-see policy paid 
off in rich dividends, for when Shaw finally took the 
blanket off Tittle, that young man promptly fashioned two 
upset victories over the Detroit Lions, who had been 
entertaining championship notions up to that point. In 
the first game he tossed the winning pass to Joe Arenas. 
In the return match two weeks later Tittle faked a fourth- 
period pass, and as the Lions dropped back to blanket the 
receivers, he tucked the ball under his arm and ran for 
the winning points. 

Tittle bears a special grudge toward the Lions. It dates 
back to the game in 1950 when the Detroiters humiliated 
the Baltimore Colts, 45-21. Tittle remembers that game 



as the worst of his career. Left most of the time without 
protection as he tried to pass, he spent much of the after 
noon flat on his back with bulky Lions festooning his 

During a game in 1952, with the Forty-Niners leading 
the Lions, 28-0, Shaw sent Tittle into the game. 

"Stay on the ground," the coach advised. "Just ^ et tune 
run out." 

But Tittle's first play was a pass. Then he threw 
another. And another. The Forty-Niners moved down the 
field toward another touchdown. Puzzled because his 
advice had been ignored, Shaw called Tittle to the side 

"What are you trying to do?" Shaw asked. 

"I'm sorry, coach," Tittle replied. "I guess you'll just 
have to take me out. If you leave me in, I'm going to try 
to get fifty points. Those guys almost killed me in 1950 and 
I'm not going to let them off the hook now." 

Shaw laughed heartily, and sent in Albert to finish the 
rest of the game. 

In 1952 Shaw had two "field coaches." Albert would 
play the first and third periods, Tittle the second and 
fourth. Or, occasionally, they would reverse the procedure. 
In either event troubles descended heavily on the op 
ponents. Until the mysterious collapse that struck the 
team after midseason, the Forty-Niners were as brilliant 
a team as pro football had seen in many years. Yet had 
it not been for that collapse, Frankie Albert might still be 
playing football. 

"It's hard to figure when to step out," he said. "You 
don't want to go on playing until people remember you for 
what you once could do instead of what you are doing. 



And you don't like to call it quits when you're behind. Still, 
a losing year is the only time to drop out. When you are 
winning, there are too many reasons to continue playing, 
even beyond the point of usefulness. If the Forty-Niners 
had won the championship in 1952, I would have been 
back in '53. And that might have been a mistake." 

Albert's teammates on the early Forty-Niners were a 
sturdy bunch. They included the mighty Standlee, who 
joined them when released from service in '46; Len Esh- 
mont, former Fordham flash; Johnny "Strike" Strzykalski, 
chunky halfback from Marquette; guards Visco Grgich 
and Bruno Banducci; and tackle John Woudenberg. 

Standlee, in his lone campaign witih. the Bears in 1941, 
ran with such devastating power that Chicago fans hailed 
him with the highest praise possible. They called him 
"another Nagurski." He continued to roll over opponents 
like a runaway beer truck going downhill until 1949 when 
he switched to the more prosaic and demanding work of 
backing up the line. He was still doing a whale of a job at 
it when he was stricken with polio in 1952. 

Strzykalski, who had played only freshman football in 
college, proved to be a highly effective runner. He also 
had a sense of humor and a deep appreciation for the 
linemen ahead of him. At a question-and-answer session 
following a luncheon one day a fan said to him: "I've 
watched you play many years, and IVe always considered 
you as one of the best halfbacks in pro football. But I 
see now that you're not exceptionally big, and you say you 
are not exceptionally fast. To what, then, do you attribute 
your success?" 

"Strike" grinned, then replied with obvious sincerity: 
"To the holes in front of me/* 



It was during the 1948 season that the Forty-Niners 
were quartered in tiny, quiet Cambridge Springs, in the 
rolling hills of Pennsylvania, while playing a series of 
games in the East. For entertainment the boys had three 
choices they could attend the one movie theater, play 
either of two pinball machines, or go down to watch the 
freight trains rumble through. 

The team had stayed there at times during the two 
previous years, so all knew the town's limitations recrea- 
tionwise. After three days on this trip they had exhausted 
every phase of amusement. The fourth night found the 
players milling restlessly about the lobby of the Riverside 
Inn. Suddenly John Woudenberg held up his hand and 
demanded attention. 

"Say fellows," he said, "I know what we can do tonight. 
Let's walk around the block counter-clockwise for a 

These Forty-Niners were quick thinkers off the field 
as well as on it. They even mouse-trapped some profes 
sional gamblers. 

Len Eshmont was reading a magazine in the lobby of 
a Cleveland hotel one afternoon when two men ap 
proached him. They engaged him in small talk and 
adroitly swung the conversation to the approaching game 
between the Forty-Niners and Browns. The questions be 
came more and more probing and Eshmont became sus 
picious, so much so he framed his answers provocatively 
in order to draw the two men out. 

"Honest," said one, "are you fellows in as poor physical 
condition as the papers say?" 

Tm telling you," said Eshmont, "well be lucky to field 
a complete backfield. Everybody is hurt. We might even 



wind up with a tackle playing fullback and a guard play 
ing one of the halfbacks. That's what we've been working 
on this week anyhow." 

"You feel, then, that the Forty-Niners haven't a 
chance?" asked the second man. 

"Listen," said Eshmont, "if I knew where to place a bet, 
I'd bet everything I have on Cleveland. Do you know 
where a guy could make a little wager?" 

The two men looked at each other, then one of them 
nodded and mumbled an address. As soon as they had 
departed, Eshmont went to the coaches with the story. 
The coaches relayed the tale to the Browns' office, which 
relayed it, in turn, to the police. On Monday the gambling 
joint was raided after the Forty-Niners had upset the 
Browns, 34-20, on Sunday! 





BY REASON OF THEIR geographic location, the San Fran 
cisco Forty-Niners often think of themselves in self-sym 
pathy as gypsies during the football season. They travel 
approximately 20,000 miles a year for their "road" games, 
the shortest trip being a 400-mile haul to Los Angeles. Yet 
this nomad existence has brought them some rich ex 
periences, and the intimacy engendered through close 
association while traveling has developed a tremendous 
team spirit. 

They've had ball games postponed by hurricanes and 
floods, theyVe played in blizzards and blistering heat, 
they've been grounded by snow and fog. But they're 
flying higher and farther each year on a course they hope 
will lead to a championship. 

In their first year 1946 they helped sandbag plate- 
glass windows of their Miami hotel and clear away tum 
bled trees and other debris from the streets after a hur 
ricane struck Florida. Twenty-four hours later they played 
a postponed game in the Orange Bowl, then clambered 



aboard their chartered plane for Los Angeles. Tossed by 
heavy winds on a rough flight, they were aloft nineteen 
hours before reaching the Coast; and since they had left 
right after the game, more than twenty-four hours had 
elapsed since they had shaved or changed clothes. 

They were hardly a prepossessing group as they 
straggled into the lobby of their hotel in Pasadena a 
quiet haven catering largely to the elderly. It took keen 
diplomacy and a bit of impassioned oratory by Coach 
"Buck" Shaw to convince the clerk he wasn't dealing with 
a band of gangdom gorillas. 

Since that time there has been a club rule requiring 
all players to wear coats and ties in public and, if neces 
sary, to shave before disembarking in any city they visit. 
It has been violated only once with official sanction. 
That was because of another flight in which the weather 
was even more foul. For hours the chartered plane circled 
the New York airport in blinding fog. The pilot admitted 
later he never had a more harrowing experience than 
when another plane swished across his nose, so close he 
could almost identify the crew in the other cockpit. A 
split second's difference and there would have been no 
history of the Forty-Niners. 

There is a history, however, short but colorful, and it 
has its foundation in the unswerving belief of Anthony 
J. "Tony" Morabito that San Francisco would support 
professional football. He first tried to obtain a franchise 
in the National League in 1941, but was turned down on 
the grounds that the minor-league Clippers, then in 
operation, held territorial rights. Consequently, when the 
All America Conference was born, Morabito was one of 
its most enthusiastic pioneers. 



People said he was committing financial suicide, for 
he was competing with five major colleges within a radius 
of thirty-five miles of San Francisco. They were the Uni 
versity of California, Stanford, St. Mary's, Santa Clara, 
and the University of San Francisco. The colleges held 
the choice Sunday dates at Kezar Stadium, which was to 
be the home of the Forty-Niners. 

In their first two years of existence the Forty-Niners 
lost approximately a quarter of a million dollars, but 
Morabito wasn't discouraged. Quite the contrary. In 
stead, he bought out his two original partners, and his 
younger brother Vic moved in as a heavy stockholder. 
Since then the Forty-Niners have become a profitable 
enterprise, holding the choice dates at Kezar and fre 
quently filling that vast stadium. 

As his first step in building a team, "Tony" Morabito 
hired Shaw as his coach. That was in 1944, two years 
before the first Forty-Niners took the field. (The team's 
name was suggested jointly by Mrs. Shaw and Mrs. Mora 
bito.) Shaw at the time was doubly a coach without a 
team, for he was at Santa Clara, which had dropped foot 
ball for the war period. Morabito promptly loaned him to 
California, where he did a fine coaching job, meanwhile 
rounding up players for the Forty-Niners. 

In their first year the Forty-Niners won nine and 
lost five, and for their five years in the All America Con 
ference had a record of thirty-eight victories, fourteen 
defeats, and two ties. Their best friends and worst enemies 
were the Cleveland Browns. Their rivalry was so keen 
it packed *em in at the box office, but the Forty-Niners 
seemed cast always in the role of bridesmaid to the 
fantastically successful Browns. The two were far and 



away the strongest teams in the conference, but un 
happily were in the same division of the league and so 
never met for the title until the last season of the A.A.C/S 
life, after the divisional setup had been abandoned. 

The championship game was played several days after 
the A.A.C. had been absorbed by the National League, 
so the players actually were fighting for an empty honor. 
What's more, the day was bitterly cold and only 22,550 
fans showed up in Cleveland's huge stadium. The Forty- 
Niners had beaten the Browns, 56-28, earlier and had 
set ground-gaining and scoring records for the A.A.C.; but 
they were beset by injuries for the title battle and once 
again caught the bride's bouquet. The Browns won, 21-7. 
During the course of this 1949 season, on a train ride, 
little 152-pound Joe Vetrano, the point-lacking specialist, 
and giant Bruno Banducci, 220-pound All-Conference 
guard, were struggling playfully for possession of a popu 
lar magazine. Suddenly Banducci crumpled to the floor 
in pain, and even before trainer Bob Kleckner could 
examine the injury, everyone was sure Banducci' s shoul 
der, which had been hurt earlier, had been damaged 
again. Kleckner confirmed it. The big guard had a shoul 
der separation. 

Coach Shaw shuffled sadly to his seat and there was 
a sudden, strained silence. Nobody looked at little Vet 
rano, but heavy in the air was an unspoken blame. 

Vetrano bounced up from his seat and walked over to 
stand beside Shaw. In a loud, clear voice, he said: "Don't 
worry, coach. You've just found yourself a new all-time, 
All-Pro guard. If that's all these big guys up front ean 
take, then a little backfield guy like myself should be 
hell on wheels." 



Even Banducci laughed through his pain. "Take him 
up on it, coach/' he said. "And the next time we scrim 
mage I want to be playing on the opposite side of the line 
from him." 

Vetrano is the only veteran player Shaw ever "fired." 
He sorrowfully gave the little man his release in 1950 
because he "couldn't afford to carry a specialist/' but the 
public outcry was so violent that Shaw vowed, "I'll never 
do that again." 

San Francisco's debut in the National League in 1950 
was anything but a happy and auspicious one. The Forty- 
Niners' first foe was the Washington Redskins, and Mora- 
bito made a pre-game talk in the dressing room. "We've 
traveled a hard road getting to this point," he told his 
players, "so let's make up for it. Don't stop until you've 
scored one hundred points, then take a deep breath and 
score a hundred more." 

Washington beat them soundly, 31-12. The Phila 
delphia Eagles beat them the next week, 28-10, and a lot 
of other teams beat them, too. The Forty-Miners wound 
up with a record of three victories and nine defeats. 
This about-face in fortune on the gridiron was reflected 
in the box office, the "gate" falling off sharply. Morabito 
issued orders to Shaw to rebuild the team in a hurry. 

The nucleus of a powerhouse was still there Albert, 
Strzykalski, Beals, Banducci, Standlee, Grgich, along with 
fellows like center Bill Johnson, tackles Leo Nomellini 
and Ray Collins, linebacker Hardy Brown sometimes 
called the roughest man in football halfbacks Lowell 
Wagner and Verl Lillywhite, and Joe "Jet" Perry, burly 
Negro fullback who combined tremendous drive with a 
rare burst of speed. Shaw, however, wanted more and 



bigger tackles and additional halfback speed. And it 
didn't take him long to find what he wanted. 

At the halves he acquired Joe Arenas and California's 
Pete Schabarum and Jim Monachino. In the line he added 
huge Al Carapella. He grabbed Tittle. He also embraced 
a new brand of football. The Forty-Niners forsook then- 
old power game for speed and finesse. The team went 
definitely point-happy, especially late in the 1951 season 
when it toppled the mighty Lions twice to close the sea 
son with seven victories, four defeats, and a tie. 

"I wonder/' Shaw said in discussing the about-face in 
the Forty-Niners' style of play, "if the players who were 
with us in 1946 Eshmont and the others who typified 
power football could even make our ball club now? We 
have an entirely different concept. We want speed and 
quick starts and deep receivers and long gainers. We want 
a backfield composed of four players, any one of whom 
can go ninety-nine yards on a single play." 

He got one halfback who not only could go that far 
but frequently came close to doing so in 1952. The lad's 
name is Hugh McElhenny and he came out of Wash 
ington with an All-American reputation, but nothing he 
ever accomplished as a collegian could match his feats 
as a freshman professional. He carried the ball ninety- 
eight times for 684 yards to rank fourth among the league's 
top ground-gainers. His average of 7 yards per carry was 
far and away the best. 

His longest scoring run from scrimmage was an 89- 
yard jaunt against Dallas, but perhaps his most jolting 
run was a 95-yard punt return for a touchdown against 
the Bears. Ever since the Forty-Niners had entered the 
N.F.L., Coach Shaw had been telling them: "You won't 



really be members of this league until you beat the Bears." 
According to this reasoning, the Forty-Niners still weren't 
bona fide National Leaguers when they invaded Chicago's 
Wrigley Field in October of 1952. Then McElhenny took 

That afternoon, as the Forty-Niners came of age in 
Shaw's book with a thumping 40-16 victory, "Hurrying 
Hugh" hustled for 259 yards in eighteen trips with the 
football. And for good measure he broke open the game 
with that long touchdown punt return. It only embar 
rassed the red-faced Bears more when McElhenny said, 
after the game, "I thought I was on about the twenty- 
yard line when I caught that punt. If I'd realized I was 
on the five, I'd have let the ball go into the end zone!" 

Helping to ignite the San Francisco spark was Bob 
Toneff, an AU-American tackle from Notre Dame, and a 
brilliant end named Gordon Soltau. Toneflf is one of the 
few stellar collegians who enhanced his luster as a pro. 
Soltau is one of the many players who, after a compara 
tively undistinguished career on college gridirons, soar 
to stardom as professionals. 

Soltau was a good end at Minnesota, but his abilities 
didn't stagger pro scouts with their impact. Green Bay 
drafted him for the 1950 season but traded him to Cleve 
land after one exhibition game. The Browns weren't too 
impressed, either, and not long thereafter Coach Paul 
Brown called him to one side, told him the Forty-Niners 
were desperate for a fellow who could place-kick, and 
asked if he'd like to play in San Francisco. He agreed, 
but it wasn't until a year later that the Forty-Niners be 
gan to realize what a tremendous bargain they had made. 

In both 1951 and 1952 Soltau was the Forty-Niners' 


Bruno Banducci 

Leo Nomellini 

Joe Perry 





Norm Standlee 

Frankie Albert 

Hardy Brown 

Hugh. McElhenny 





Lawrence "Buck" Shaw 

Gordon Soltau 


leading scorer and in '52 he led the league with 7 touch 
downs, 34 points after touchdown, and 6 field goals good 
for 94 points. He caught 54 passes for 759 yards and he 
was placed at an offensive end position on most All- 
League selections. 

Soltau is typical of the ambitious young men who use 
pro football as a steppingstone to success in business, 
politics, and the professions. He is one of California's 
most active young politicians and is sales manager for a 
steel company, bossing a considerable sales staff. He is 
also a skier of noteworthy skill, winning the California 
Class B event at Donner Summit in 1952. And just to 
show how uncertain sports can be after surviving a 
season of football and skiing without mishap, he at 
tended a company picnic and suffered a severe gash on 
his head when he struck the bottom of the pool in exe 
cuting a fancy dive! 

Just what happened to this Forty-Niner team, which 
stopped as unpredictably as an old flivver after running 
over all early-season opposition, is one of football's great 
unexplained mysteries. Leo Nomellini insists the team 
sagged because of tiredness and the long schedule, yet 
the schedule was just as long for the other teams. Half 
back Jim Cason says it was because of the many injuries 
the Forty-Niners suffered, yet the "cripples" were return 
ing late in the year when the team was losing. 

Coach Shaw merely shakes his head. "I just don't 
know," he admits. "It's a mental drop somewhere, of that 
we're sure. I've learned again that no coach ever can 
fully understand the mental motivations and attitudes of 
any athletic team." 

Inexplicable as the collapse of the 1952 team was, 



some San Francisco fans thought they could discern an 
omen in a touching ceremony that preceded the final 
game of the season. Dave Scofield, the field announcer, 
in introducing the players in the starting line-up, waited 
until the very end before calling out the names of Frankie 
Albert and John Str2ykalski. Then Frankie and Johnny, 
the city's football sweethearts through its first seven 
years in the pro game, trotted out on the field together 
as the band played "Should Auld Acquaintance be For 

That, San Franciscans like to think, marked the end 
of an era and the dawn of a new one. The first seven years 
were ones of famine insofar as championships were con 
cerned. Fans couldn't help hoping the next seven, true to 
the old Biblical story, would be years of feasting. 




ACCORDING TO THE RECORDS, professional football made its 
formal Pittsburgh debut in the early autumn of the year 
1933, but to Arthur J. Rooney, the fabulous and fasci 
nating Irishman responsible for its beginning, the game 
didn't have its baptism until the first Sunday after the first 
Tuesday in November of that same year. That is the day 
Rooney, owner and president of the Pittsburgh Steelers 
throughout their history, remembers best of all. And if it 
hadn't been for a misplaced superintendent of police, the 
steel metropolis of the world might be without a profes 
sional football franchise today. 

Art Rooney, a smallish, stockily built fellow with 
craggy eyebrows and a dented nose, is a restless chap with 
a great passion for betting on horses. He was awarded 
the team because (a) he was a long-time friend of Joe 
Carr, president of the N.F.L., and (b) at the time he had 
the $2,500 needed to purchase the franchise. 

Art also wanted to purchase the Pittsburgh baseball 
club but shied away from making an offer because he 



knew that Judge K. M. Landis, baseball's high commis 
sioner, frowned on people allied with the racing industry. 
This undoubtedly was a sad blow to the fortunes of the 
Pirates, for over the years the happy-go-lucky Rooney has 
successfully promoted his football team, a leading racing 
stable, championship boxing matches, and sundry busi 
ness ventures not allied with sports. 

But on the first Sunday following the first Tuesday in 
November of 1933, it looked like his professional football 
beginning might turn into a promotional dud, 

Carr gave the city of Pittsburgh, always rated one of 
football's strongholds, a franchise on the premise that 
the ancient blue laws, which forbade Sunday sports, 
would be abolished. An amendment calling for repeal 
of the law was passed by the people on the first Tuesday 
in November and, according to plan, was to be ratified 
immediately by the city council. Quick ratification was 
essential because, on the following Sunday, the new Pitts 
burgh football team was scheduled to play the Giants at 
Forbes Field. However, between Tuesday and Sunday the 
council members forgot to act on the amendment. 

Rooney, still unfamiliar with that part of the body 
politic, paid little attention to the legislators, concen 
trating on the task of ballyhooing his promotional venture. 
The die-hard, blue-law brethren were busy, too, but un 
wisely waited until the day of the game to raise a point 
of law in an effort to stop the first Sunday game. 

Steve Owen and his Giants already were going through 
a pre-game workout on the field when members of a 
strong ministerial association were seeking out the Di 
rector of Public Safety to persuade him to enforce the law 
and stop the game. This official, it turned out, was not 



available, so the ministerial group petitioned the aid of 
Franklin McQuade, superintendent of police. He, too, 
was among the missing. Before he was found, the game 
the first official Sunday game in Pittsburgh history was 
played and the home forces had lost. 

Later the mystery of the missing superintendent was 
solved. He was attending the football game! 

The following Tuesday the city council formally rati 
fied the amendment. In the years since then Rooney's 
$2,500 investment has turned into one of the most valu 
able in football. 

Rooney has kept a little diary in which he pens com 
ments on all games played by his team. The entry on the 
date of this first game is succinct and typically Rooney. 
It reads: "The Giants won. Our team looked terrible. The 
fans did not get their money's worth." 

The story of Art Rooney cannot be told properly with 
out including the entire Rooney family, especially his 
brother Dan, a great athlete in his own right and cur 
rently the Rev. Silas Rooney, O.F.M., athletic director at 
St. Bonaventure University. 

Art, the oldest of a family of six boys and two girls, 
was born in Coulterville, a little mining community on the 
outskirts of Pittsburgh. The men on his father's side of the 
family were steel puddlers, his mother's relatives worked 
in the soft-coal mines. Art, who stoutly maintains that he 
and hard work "are not very friendly," is exceedingly 
proud of his laboring relatives, especially of an uncle who 
fought for unionism long before it became fashionable and 
long before the terrible Homestead Strike in which mem 
bers of the Rooney family were involved. 

His father, Dan, had little liking either for the mines 



or the steel mills. He became Coulterville's only innkeeper 
until lie moved to Pittsburgh and opened the well- 
remembered Rooney Saloon, a short distance from old 
Exposition Park, where the Pirates played before they 
moved to Forbes Field. 

The saloon became famous for nickel beers, free 
lunches, sports celebrities, and Galway Irish. On Sat 
urday night, if a man couldn't speak Gaelic, he was out 
of the conversation. Recently the old gentleman recalled: 
"It was a good saloon .... no ladies were allowed." 

Art Rooney was particularly fascinated by baseball 
and football with the result that he applied himself more 
diligently on the playgrounds than he did in the class 
rooms. "No one/' an old associate recalls, "wanted to be 
a great athlete more than Art. Often you would see him 
heading for the playground at daybreak and not re 
turning until dusk. He was a tireless fellow who practiced 
so hard and exhausted so many playmates, he continually 
had to find new ones." 

All this practice was not in vain. He became such a 
fine football player that Knute Rockne wrote at least a 
half-dozen letters trying to persuade him to enroll at 
Notre Dame. He was so good in baseball that he was 
signed by two major-league teams the Chicago Cubs and 
Boston Red Sox. Impartial boxing critics claim he would 
have become a world's champion had he accepted an offer 
to turn professional. As it was, he won the international 
amateur lightweight and welterweight championships and 
defeated Sammy Mossberg, who, at the time, was the 
Olympic welterweight titleholder. 

But to Rooney, a man of deep humility and great de 
votion, the "greatest all-round athlete" was his brother 



Dan, who might have become heavyweight champion or 
one of the greatest catchers in New York Yankee history. 
Instead, he entered a Franciscan seminary and found a 
much more exciting career as a missionary in China. 

He was in the Orient when brother Art reportedly 
'"broke the book" at the Saratoga race track and sent a 
goodly share of his winnings to Father Dan, who built 
a little church and bought food and medical supplies for 
his Chinese friends and neighbors. 

Art is reticent about his big day at the races, but 
legend has it that Rooney went to New York with $300 
and a light heavyweight fighter named "Buck" Grouse. On 
the closing Saturday at Empire City, Rooney ran his $300 
into $21,000 and decided to head for home with his win 
nings. On the way to the depot he stopped in Joe Mad- 
den's restaurant and saloon. Within a few hours he and 
Madden and Grouse were on their way to Saratoga. 

On Monday the turf scene shifted to this famous spa 
and Rooney bet $2,000 at odds of 8-1 on a horse named 
Quel Jeu. It won in a photo finish. Four more times, so 
the story goes, Rooney won in nip-and-tuck finishes, 
making his greatest killing with a $10,000 bet on another 
8-1 shot. He tried to place $15,000 on the nag but the 
bookies wouldn't risk that much. In all, his profit that 
historic day was $256,000. 

Both Art and Dan finished their athletic careers as 
members of the Wheeling club of the Middle Atlantic 
baseball league. Art was outfielder and manager, Dan the 
catcher, and both established records that stood until 
the league disbanded recently. Old-time fans recall that 
"nearly every game the Rooney boys played in ended in 
a 'Hey, Rube!' " 



Art received his formal education at Duquesne, In 
diana State Normal, and Georgetown in that order. 

*1 had signed a contract with the Boston Red Sox/' he 
was telling a couple of friends in the football office re 
cently, "but instead of reporting to spring training I de 
cided to go back to school, this time to Georgetown. The 
Hoyas had a great team. 

"And what do you think happened? I reported to John 
O'Reilly, who was Georgetown's coach, but I failed. Me 
a big leaguer failed to make the team!" 

Later he was drafted by the Cubs but developed a 
sore arm and was shipped to Mobile. He never reported. 
Instead, he returned to Pittsburgh and began to organize 
and coach great semipro football teams. 

"They may have called our teams semipros," Art re 
calls, <e but they were comparable to some of the teams 
in the National Football League when we first joined. 
We had some great names on our rosters boys from 
Pitt, Carnegie Tech, Duquesne, Washington and Jeffer 
son, and Geneva. And these schools had some of the best 
teams in the country then." 

Art was player-coach of the Majestic Radios, the Hope 
Harveys, and the James P. Rooneys. Rooney is extremely 
proud of his coaching record. "It's better than George 
Marshall's!" he quips. 

Art at one time ran for political office. He was a can 
didate for registrar of wills and one of his campaign 
speeches made history: 

"I don't know what the job is," he said. "I don't know 
where the office is. But if I'm elected I'll guarantee you 
will get a square shake, because 111 get good people to run 



Rooney has operated his football team on the same 
premise. He gets good people to run the team and he, 
in turn, gets a huge kick out of being its number one fan. 
He understands perhaps better than anyone the uncer 
tainties of football as a business, with the result he 
operates his Steelers on a sound financial basis. In the days 
of inflated salaries he refused to join the trend. He told 
each player what he could pay. If the player wasn't satis 
fied, he was traded. But most were satisfied. 

Branch Rickey, who was brilliantly successful as a 
baseball executive and a complete flop as a pro football 
impresario, was attending a luncheon shortly after as 
suming control of the Brooklyn football team. There he 
met Rooney. "Mr. Rickey," said Art, "I've always regarded 
you with the deepest admiration and respect. But when I 
found you had gone into pro football, I had my doubts 
about you!" 

The Steeler office, where Rooney presides, is a gather 
ing place for the colorful folk of the sports world. For 
years the club had its headquarters on the ground floor 
of the Fort Pitt Hotel, and its windows opened onto the 
street. Many are the Pittsburghers who have been startled 
to see a window fly open and some hulking athlete vault 
out onto the sidewalk rather than stroll through the hotel 
lobby and exit via the normal method. 

After the office was moved to an upper floor of a 
Pittsburgh office building, many of the "regulars," includ 
ing "Pie" Traynor, the old Pirate baseball star, stopped 
dropping in for the daily bull session. Pressed for a reason, 
Traynor replied: 

"I'm afraid that some day somebody is going to forget 
the office is moved and step out the window " 





No FOOTBALL COACH ever had a more astonishing debut 
than did Johnny Blood, who took over as boss of the 
Steelers in 1937, near the end of his long and fantastic ca 
reer. On the first play of his first game as playing boss of 
the Pittsburgh team he caught the kickoff on his goal line 
and deposited the ball in the opposite end zone after a 
dazzling run of 100 yards. 

"Follow the example of the boss, boys," he chirped. 
Unfortunately, none were able to do so. Indeed, the 
Pittsburgh football story has been one of almost con 
tinual frustration under no less than a dozen coaches. 
And of these coaches two stand out, for vastly different 
reasons, in the memory of the club's owner, Art Rooney. 
One is Blood, a fun-loving fellow who divided his 
time between playing the part of a gay boulevardier and 
attempting to solve an economic treatise entitled "Spend 
Yourself Rich." The other was the late Dr. John Bain 
"Jock" Sutherland, a taciturn Scot who ruled with a mailed 
fist and the discipline of a Prussian officer. 



Rooney can draw quite an analogy as he thinks back on 
the days of Blood and Sutherland. As to comparative 
coaching ability there can be no argument. Sutherland 
must rank among the all-time greats in his profession. 
Blood, in comparison, got into coaching on a pass, or a 
series of passes and runs that made his movie-marquee 
name famous. Both left indelible marks on Pittsburgh's 
football fans. 

Sutherland's discipline was rigid and inflexible, so much 
so, in fact, that Bill Dudley, probably the greatest player 
in Pittsburgh's pro history, revolted and forced the doctor 
to trade him in 1947. Once during the height of the sea 
son the players staged a minor insurrection which was 
quelled only after the doctor met the rebellious players 
more than halfway. 

Blood went to the other extreme. "On every team," 
Rooney points out, "it is customary for the coach to worry 
about the players. But when Blood was around, the players 
worried about the coach, wondering whether he was 
going to show up." 

At the start of every practice day Blood would give 
each player a slogan, not unlike an Army password, to 
commit to memory. The slogans went like this: "Bear 
meat is good to eat" or "Packers are easy to defeat" or 
"Steelers can't be beat." Sometimes he would join in the 
practice, sometimes he would not, depending upon how 
he felt. And there was many a morning when he felt like 
a man without a country. 

One of Blood's Pittsburgh teams scored a notable 
"first," but actually neither the coach nor the team could 
take full credit. In 1939, in an exhibition game staged at 
Erie, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh edged the Chicago Bears, 



10-9. It was the first time a Pittsburgh team ever had 
beaten the Bears. 

Both teams were quartered in the same hotel in Erie. 
A few hours before game time Rooney was ambling down 
a corridor toward his room with his eldest son, Danny, 
then seven. As they passed a doorway, Rooney heard the 
voice of George Halas, who was giving the Bears a stern 
pre-game lecture. Art stopped, listened, and leaned over 
to whisper something to his son, Danny nodded, marched 
to the door, and knocked loudly while his father ducked 
around a corner. 

"Who's there?" Halas demanded, then added: "Come 
in/' Danny timidly opened the door. 

"Well, well," said Halas, "what do you want, young 
man? You must have the wrong room." 

"My name," the lad replied haltingly, "is Danny 
Rooney. And my old man sent me in here to ask you to 
take it easy on his team tonight." 

The Bear players roared. Even Halas could not sup 
press a wide grin. He realized any further serious talk 
about football would be in vain. He dismissed the squad. 
To this day Halas insists: "Rooney's kid was the main 

offense against the Bears that night " 

Actually, however, pro football didn't jell in Pitts 
burgh until 1946 when Sutherland assumed the head- 
coaching duties. The dour doctor, more an institution than 
a personality in the steel city, gave the pro sport a touch 
of "class," and as one long-time ticket holder put it, 
"some damn fine football teams." 

"Jock," a graduate of Pitt and for many years its coach, 
developed the Panthers into some of the finest collegiate 
teams in the land. Several of his teams were acknowledged 



national champions, three competed in the Rose Bowl. 
But in 1939 he quit as the result of internal problems 
brewing on the campus. 

He could have had the job as coach of the Pittsburgh 
pro team shortly after he left the Pitt campus but shied 
away because he was told that the pro league was "be 
neath his dignity." Nevertheless he later turned to the 
pros at Brooklyn, but it wasn't until 1946 that he met with 
Rooney in a private room on the second floor of the Pitts 
burgh Athletic Association and signed as coach of the 
Steelers. Of this brief association he said: "My years with 
Art Rooney and the Steelers were among the happiest of 
my life/* 

Sutherland served only two years with the Steelers 
before his untimely death in the spring of 1948. His record 
of thirteen victories, nine defeats, and a tie is not par 
ticularly impressive, but in his second season it took a 
play-off game with a great team of Philadelphia Eagles 
to deprive him of the Eastern divisional championship. 
That, incidentally, is the closest Pittsburgh ever has come 
to winning a title. 

"Jock's" name also was box-office magic in Pittsburgh. 
Not once in his two seasons at the helm did the Steelers 
open a ticket window on the day of a game. The park 
was sold out and the management pleaded with fans to 
stay home if they didn't already have tickets. One year 
the sale of season tickets reached 23,000 just short of 

"If it hadn't been for Dr. Sutherland," Rooney insists, "I 
never would have been able to continue in pro football. 
The doctor came along at just the right time. He gave 
Pittsburgh fans the kind of teams they had been looking 



for, and he came at a time when the All America had 
begun its costly war. If it hadn't been for him, someone 
other than Art Rooney would own the Steelers today. I 
never could have sustained the losses and remained in 

Through the long, arduous years Pittsburgh has been 
represented by some truly fine football players even 
though the team has never won a championship. They 
include men like Warren Heller, Jess Quatse, Armand 
Niccolai, Dick Riffle, Andy Tomasic, Curt Sandig, Byron 
'Whizzer" White, Bill Dudley, Steve Lach, Lynn Chand- 
nois, Elbie Nickel, and Jimmy Finks. 

Of these White stands out because he was the first 
player in the N.F.L. to be paid a flat five-figure salary. 
In 1938, when he came out of Colorado, he was paid 
$15,000 and led the league in ground-gaining. 

"No player,'' says Rooney, "ever put out as much effort 
as White. IVe seen many players with greater ability but 
none who tried harder and gave 100 per cent effort at all 

White, a Rhodes scholar, later was a law clerk for 
Carl Vinson, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme 
Court, and has been mentioned as a candidate for the 
governorship of Colorado. 

The greatest player in Steeler history, however, was 
Dudley. "Bullet Bill" was pint-sized but packed the wallop 
of a magnum. He was the team's best runner, its best 
punter, and top defensive man, rating among the best 
safety men of all time. In addition he kicked off and 
booted all field goals and points after touchdown. In his 
first year he was the league's leading ground gainer and 
in 1946, at the end of the war, he led again in ground- 



gaining, topped the field in pass interceptions, and won 
the most-valuable-player trophy. 

It was after this season that Wes Fesler, whose teams 
have won many intercollegiate championships, said of 
Dudley: "He is the most unorthodox, yet the best player 
I've seen in many a year. He hasn't great speed, but still 
I've never seen him caught from behind. He gets into 
position incorrectly, but his start is phenomenal. As far 
as form is concerned when it comes to punting, he has 
none, yet he averages over forty-five yards. He's a great 
faker. He's a great defensive man and one of the deadliest 
tacklers I've ever watched. He is truly an All American in 
any league." 

"Greasy" Neale, coach of the Eagles, gave a standing 
order to his quarterbacks that no pass was to be thrown 
in Dudley's defensive zone. He says no other defensive 
back ever forced him to issue such an order. 

Dudley was Rooney's favorite as well as the fans*. An 
assistant Steeler coach once said after a game, "Dudley 
was good, but he didn't hit the right holes." 

"That's lucky for us," Rooney replied. "If he ever starts 
hitting the right holes, the other team will never be able to 
stop us. We'd score so easily the games would get boring 
and the fans probably would quit coming out to see us." 

Another great Steeler, whose career encompassed both 
the White and the Dudley eras, was Chuck Cherundolo, 
who was an Ail-American center at Penn State and a 
tremendous performer through ten seasons as a pro. It 
was his misfortune to play at a time when Mel Hein and 
"Bulldog" Turner, more colorful athletes, were claiming 
the limited headlines reserved for centers, but he was 
about as good as they come. He possessed outstanding 



qualities of leadership and was the Steelers' complete 
boss on the field. 

The first coach in Pittsburgh's pro history was Forest 
"Jap" Douds of Washington and Jefferson, who was re 
placed the next season by Luby Di Meolo, an intimate 
friend and former teammate of Jim Rooney. He, too, lasted 
one season. 

Di Meolo was followed by Joe Bach, who set a record 
by lasting two seasons and came within one game of 
winning the title in 1936. Bach returned in 1952 for a 
second term at the helm. Bach's first regime was followed 
by three seasons of Blood and one with Walt Kiesling, 
veteran tackle who had a long playing career with Duluth, 
Potts ville, Green Bay, the Cardinals, and the Bears. 

During the war Bert Bell, who was Rooney's partner 
at the time, took over as coach. He still blames Rooney for 
wrecking the season of 1941, in which the team won one, 
lost nine, and tied one. Bell took his team to training camp 
at Hershey, Pennsylvania, and one day Rooney, en route 
to Saratoga with his racing stable, stopped in to see how 
things were progressing. He sat in the stands and watched 
the team play an intrasquad game. The players were 
dressed in bright new uniforms. The scrimmage went 

After the game one of the sports writers turned to 
Rooney and asked what he thought of the team. Art's 
reply made headlines. 

"The same old team," he said truthfully. "The only 
difference is the uniforms." 

Rooney's estimate proved 100 per cent correct, and 
before the season of 1942 progressed far, Bell resigned 
as coach and Aldo "Buff" Donelli took over. "Buff" spent 


Bill Dudley 



Byron "Whizzer" White 

Johnny Blood 
Back and Coach 

Chuck Cherundolo 

Elbie Nickel 

Arthur J. Rooney 

Joe F. Carr 

Bert Bell 

Andy Lotshaw 



Norman "Bobie" Cahn 

Elmer Layden 

Ted Collins 
Owner of YanJcs and Bulldogs 


part of his time coaching Duquesne and the rest with the 
pros until Commissioner Elmer Layden ordered him to 
quit his dual role and devote full time to one job or the 
other. Donelli elected to remain at Duquesne, so Kiesling 
took over again. 

In 1943 the team merged with the Philadelphia Eagles 
and was known as Pitt Steagles with "Greasy" Neale as 
coach. Later the Steelers were merged with the Cardinals 
as a wartime measure and called the Card-Pitts. Kiesling 
and Phil Handler were co-coaches. 

This combine didn't win a single game but every 
Monday morning Handler would receive some fan mail 
one post card. Each time he would rip the card into small 
bits, muttering to himself. One day Rooney asked him 
about it. 

"Some high-school coach/' said Handler in all serious 
ness, "keeps pestering me. He wants me to give him my 

"I don't know who was crazy," Rooney laughs, "the 
high-school coach or Handler. That was an offense that 
still has to win a game in the National League!" 

After Dr. Sutherland's short and successful career the 
job went, in 1948, to one of his prize pupils and assistants, 
John Michelosen, who held on for four years, producing 
teams that were consistently tough and rugged, but as 
consistently unspectacular and only moderately success 
ful. Pressure from the fans, who had grown weary of the 
single-wing offense used by Michelosen, finally forced 
Rooney to make another coaching change, so he brought 
back Bach, who installed the T-formation. 

It began to click in rather spectacular fashion at times 
in 1952 and all because of a castoff named Jimmy Finks, 



who smashed ten Steeler records in his first year at quar 
terback. Finks started his pro career with the New York 
Yanks in the A.A.C., but was released. He came to the 
Steeler camp in 1949 and caught on as a defensive back, a 
position he held for three years until Bach installed the T. 
Then he moved to quarterback with amazing results. 

He tied the great Otto Graham with twenty touch 
down passes for the 1952 season and engineered one of the 
most amazing upsets in pro history a 63-7 Steeler tri 
umph over the New York Giants, supposedly the best de 
fensive team of all. 

The opinion is growing in Pittsburgh that Art Rooney 
soon will have a winner, and not one stabled in his racing 






BERT BELL, THE ASTUTE commissioner of pro football, once 
revealed the rather astounding fact that of the forty-three 
franchises granted over the years, only a handful have 
made money. The rest thirty or more have lost, some 
in a minor way, some heavily. But by all odds the cham 
pion loser is Ted Collins, talented radio and television 
tycoon who as partner of Kate Smith reaped a fortune 
from the air lanes, but who found line bucks worth much 
less than one hundred cents on the dollar. 


Collins estimates he lost more than a million dollars in 
less than a decade of association with the game of pro 
fessional football 

Ted, a dapper little Irishman, played professional bas 
ketball years ago, and the cage sport was his first venture 
into professional sports promotion. He purchased the 
original Celtics, one of the greatest quintets in basketball 
history, and operated them for six years. He shifted to 
pro football in 1941 when he purchased the Long Island 
Indians of the American League, and two years later he 



demonstrated his courage by buying the Boston franchise 
of the National Football League, despite the fact that 
in the previous two decades three promoters had lost some 
$250,000 trying to get the sport established in Boston. 

He fielded his first team there in the midst of the war 
when football talent was scarce and football dollars even 
more so. In December of 1948 he, too, moved out, ex 
pressing no bitterness although the city had failed once 
again to support a team. 

"Our experience in Boston," he said, "has not proved 
it a poor sports city. Last year, for instance, we won five 
games, but only one of them at home. We haven't given 
the fans there much to cheer about. But when one loses 
about a quarter of a million dollars there, as I have, it's 
about time to move out." 

He had weathered a stormy time in Boston, one of his 
greatest blows being delivered by the courts which ruled 
that Angelo Bertelli, former Notre Dame quarterback who 
was to direct his T-formation, properly belonged to the 
Los Angeles Dons of the All America Conference. Ber 
telli had signed contracts with both teams. 

In 1949 Collins moved his team to New York to help 
combat the All America challenge, but with Dan Top 
ping's Yankees already holding Yankee Stadium as its 
home field, Collins' Yanks from Boston found themselves 
without a home and a name. Eventually they moved into 
the Polo Grounds on the days the Giants were on the road 
and called themselves the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs' bite, 
of 'course, was on Collins. 

With the coming of football peace in 1950 the Bull 
dogs became the Yanks once again and moved into the 
Stadium. Led by the passing of George Ratterman, the 



brilliant end play of Dan Edwards, the running of "Buddy" 
Young, Zollie Toth, George Taliaferro, and Sherman 
Howard, plus some inspired line play by Joe Signaigo, an 
All-League guard, the Yanks started like a whirlwind, 
winning six of their first seven games. But they faltered 
over the twin bugaboos of injuries and a weak defense, 
winding up with a record of seven victories and five de 
feats and a deficit. 

Collins' woes multiplied the next year. To begin with, 
the world series, which involved the baseball Yankees, 
deprived him of two attractive early-season home dates. 
Then the weather took a hand. 

"If New York ever wants some water," Collins pro 
tested, "just schedule us there twice a week. They'll have 
a flood." 

So it was that Collins asked for six home dates in the 
Stadium after the end of the world series in 1952. And 
when he couldn't get them, he called it quits, returning 
the franchise and its assets to the league for $100,000. 

The franchise, and the ball club, promptly were pur 
chased for $300,000 by a syndicate of Dallas oil barons 
and businessmen headed by Giles Miller, a youthful tex 
tile tycoon. Texas, a hotbed of high-school and collegiate 
football, was deemed "ripe" for the pros, who had drawn 
tremendous throngs in exhibition play in Dallas. The 
enthusiastic promoters leased the Cotton Bowl for their 
home games, but they grossly overestimated the enthu 
siasm of the Texas fans for a team that was woefully 
short of major-league stature. With five games still re 
maining on the schedule Miller and his associates turned 
the franchise back to the league, announcing the club had 
lost $250,000 during its short term of operation. 



The Texans, as they were known during their brief 
sojourn in Dallas, finished the season under the banner 
of the league, beating the Bears for their only triumph. 
Then several cities sought them for '53, with Baltimore 
leading the parade. 

Baltimore's first venture into pro football had ended 
unhappily in January, 1951. It had its beginnings in 1947 
when the Miami franchise in the All America Conference 
was transferred to the Maryland metropolis. The team, 
known as the Colts, played to 199,661 at home that sea 
son and attendance increased the next year, but in 1949 
the club encountered heavy financial weather. Neverthe 
less, Baltimore was one of the three A.A.C. teams awarded 
franchises in the N.F.L. when the leagues merged for the 
1950 season. The*Colts didn't have the kick of a popgun, 
however, and gave up the ghost early in '51 when Abe 
Watner, the club president, announced he had dropped 
$106,000 on the season. 

There is something irresistible, however, about pro 
football to those who love it, and so when Dallas gave up 
its ill-starred venture, Baltimore was the first city to 
clamor for admittance. Bert Bell listened to the plea of 
the proposed new owners and indicated he'd grant their 
wishes if they could sell 15,000 season tickets in advance. 

They could and they did. 

Pro football's orphans had found a home once again. 



IN THE COMPILATION of the background, the details, and 
the anecdotes that make up this brief history of the Na 
tional Football League we are indebted to all who have 
played professional football or had a hand in its develop 
ment. In particular we wish to thank Commissioner Bert 
Bell and his assistant, Joe Labrum, as well as all the club 
owners, coaches, and publicity men, notably Russ Gestner 
of Cleveland, Ed Kiely of Pittsburgh, Bud Erickson of 
Detroit, and Ed Hogan of Philadelphia. Our sincere 
thanks, also go to Bruce Lee of the San Francisco Chron 
icle, Arthur Daley of the New York Times, and Joe King of 
the New York World Telegram. 

Source material has been drawn from the files of Sport 
Magazine and The Sporting News, as well as from the fol 
lowing books: 

Griffith, Corinne. My Life with the Redskins. New York: 

A, S. Barnes & Company, Inc., 1947. 
McCann, Richard P. The Life Story of Sammy Baugh. St. 

Louis: C. C. Spink & Son, 1949. 



Lardner, John. It Beets Working. Philadelphia: J. B. 
Lippincott, 1947. 

March, Dr. Harry A. Pro Football Its "Ups" and Downs" 
Albany: J. B. Lyon Company, 1934. 

Owen, Steve. My Kind of Football. New York: David Mc 
Kay Company, Inc., 1952. 

Roberts, Howard. The Chicago Bears. New York: G. P. 
Putnam's Sons, 1947. 

Treat, Roger. The Official National Football League En 
cyclopedia. New York: A. S. Barnes & Company, Inc., 

Ward, Arch. The Green Bay Packers. New York: G. P. 
Putnam's Sons, 1946. 

For permission to reprint copyrighted material, our 
thanks are gratefully extended to the following publishers: 

Corinne Griffith for the quotation on page 202, taken 
from her book, My Life with the Redskins, published by 
A. S. Barnes & Company, Inc., 1947. 

David McKay Company for the quotation on page 175, 
taken from the book, My Kind of Football, by Steve 
Owen, 1952. 

C. C. Spink & Son for the quotation on page 94, taken 
from the book, The Life Story of Sammy Baugh, by Rich 
ard P. McCann, 1949. 




The players' schools follow their names in parentheses. 

The popular form of the college 

or university name is given. 

Adams, Chet (Ohio U.), 94, 108 
Adams, O'Neal (U. of Arkansas), 


Aguirre, Joe (St. Mary's, Cali 
fornia), 96 
Albert, Frankie (Stanford), 273- 

79, 286, 290 
Aldrich, "Ki" (Texas Christian), 


Alexander, Joe (Syracuse), 169 
Alfs, William, 123 
Anderson, Eddie (Notre Darne), 


Anderson, Edwin J., 137 
Anderson, Heartley "Hunk" (Notre 

Dame), 17, 26, 87, 203 
Andrews, LeRoy (Kansas State 

Teachers), 177 
Andros, Plato (U. of Oklahoma), 

Angsman, Elmer (Notre Dame), 

248, 250, 268, 271 
Aranha, Oswaldo, 199 
Arcaro, Eddie, 172 
Arenas, Joe (U. of Omaha), 175, 

277, 287 
Arms, Loyd (Oklahoma A. and 

M.)> 268 

Artoe, Lee (Santa Clara), 24, 219 
Aspinwall, Rev. Richard, 38 

Bach, Joe (Notre Dame), 304-06 
Badgro, "Red" (U. of Southern 

California), 180 

Bagarus, Steve (Notre Dame), 96 
Baker, Conway (Centenary), 265 
Ball, Herman, 203, 222 

Banducci, Bruno (Stanford), 279, 

Banonis, Vince (U. of Detroit), 

Barber, Jim (U. of San Francisco), 

Barnard, "Hap" (Texas Tech), 190 

Barnes, Don, 267 

Barnes, Walt "Piggy" (Louisiana 
State), 252-53 

Barry, Norm (Notre Dame), 258 

Barwegen, Dick (Purdue), 88 

Batchelor, Ed, 122 

Battles, CM (West Virginia Wes- 
leyan), 17, 125, 206, 208-09, 

Baugh, Samuel Adrian "Slingin' 
Sam" (Texas Christian), 13, 16, 
24, 26, 29-30, 95-97, 174, 202, 
210, 211-23, 232, 242, 249 

Baumgartner, Stan, 55, 230 

Bausch, Frank "Pete" (U. of Kan 
sas), 209 

Beals, Alyn (Santa Clara), 275, 

Bednarik, Chuck (U. of Pennsyl 
vania), 251 

Bell, Bert (U. of Pennsylvania), 
14, 45-48, 83, 106, 191, 224- 
32, 238-39, 249, 304, 307, 310 

Bendix, Vincent, 207 

Benkert, Heinie (Rutgers), 169 

Bennigsen, Ray, 270 

Benton, Jim (U. of Arkansas), 92- 

Benton, Mrs. Jim, 92 



Bergman, "Dutch," 31, 220-21 
Bernhardt, Sarah, 268 
Bero, Henry "Tubby/' 143 
Berry, Charley (Lafayette), 258 
Bertelli, Angelo, 308 
Berwanger, Jay (Chicago), 12 
Bezdek, Hugo, 91 
Bidwill, Charles W., 15, 62, 263- 

65, 269-71 
Bidwill, Mrs. Charles W.; see Bid- 

will, Violet 

BidwiU, Violet, 270, 272 
Big Twig, 35 

Bjork, Del (U. of Oregon), 65 
Blackburn, Bill (Rice Institute), 


Blacklock, Hugh, 59-60, 66 
Blanchard, "Doc'* (West Point), 


Blood, Johnny (St. John's, Minne 
sota), 17, 152-55, 161-62, 212, 

266, 298-99, 304; see also 

McNally, John 

Blozis, Al (Georgetown), 193 
Bodie, "Ping " 59, 255 
Boedecker, Billy (De Paul), 110 
Bomar, Lynn (Vanderbilt), 169 
Bouley, Gil (Boston College), 95, 

Bowdoin, Jim (U. of Alabama), 

Box, Cloyce (West Texas State 

Teachers), 139 

Bray, Ray (Western Michigan), 88 
Breeskin, Barney, 200 
Brenkert, Wayne, 237 
Brennan, Willis, 255 
Brickley, Charley (Harvard), 12 
Brink, Larry (Northern Illinois 

State Teachers), 111, 119-20 
Brizzolara, Ralph, 62, 87, 203 
Brock, Charley (U. of Nebraska), 

147, 164 

Brock, Lou (Purdue), 164 
Brown, Hardy (U. of Tulsa), 286 
Brown, Mike, 110 
Brown, Paul (Miami U.), 18, 89, 

98-104, 105-12, 288 
Bruch, Eddie, 91 

Bruder, Hank (Northwestern), 162 
Brumbaugh, Carl (U. of Florida) 

77, 81, 91 

Buck, Howard "Cub" (U. of Wis 
consin), 145-46 
Buckeye, "Gob" (Beloit), 255 
Buivid, Ray (Marquette), 189 
Bumgardner, Rex (West Virginia 

U.), 112 
Burkett, Jeff (Louisiana State) 


Burnett, Dale (Emporia Teachers), 

Caddel, Ernie (Stanford), 81, 127, 

Cafego, George (U. of Tennessee), 

Cahn, Norman "Bobie," 15, 49-54 


Calac, Pete (Carlisle), 35 
Calhoun, George, 40, 143-44, 149 
Galloway, Cab, 64 
Camp, Walter, 21, 89-90 
Campbell, Bill (U. of Oklahoma), 

Canadeo, Tony (Gonzaga), 147, 

162, 165 

Carapella, Al (U, of Miami), 287 
Cardwell, Lloyd (U. of Nebraska), 

Carlson, Jules "Zuck" (Oregon 

State), 82 

Carney, Arthur (Annapolis), 169 
Carpenter, Ken (U. of Oregon), 

Carr, Joe F., 14, 39, 41-45, 122, 

144, 161, 168, 206-07, 256, 259, 

291, 292 
Carter, Joe (Southern Methodist), 


Casey, Eddie (Harvard), 207 
Cason, Jim (Louisiana State), 289 
Cavanaugh, Major John, 180 
Chamberlain, Guy (U. of Neb 
raska), 16-17, 60, 89-90 
Champagne, Ed (Louisiana State), 




Chandnois, Lynn ( Michigan State), 

48, 302 
Cherundolo, Chuck (Penn State), 

Christensen, Frank (U. of Utah), 

Christensen, George "Chris" (U. of 

Oregon), 128-29, 131 
Christman, Paul (U. of Missouri), 

248, 268-69, 271 
Glair, J. E., 144 
Clark, Earl "Dutch*' (Colorado), 

16, 92, 94, 123, 126-27, 129-31 
Clark, George "Potsy" (U. of Illi 
nois), 50, 123, 125-27, 130, 133, 

Clark, Harry (West Virginia U.), 

24, 30, 87 
Clark, James P., 251 
Clifford, Gerry, 145, 149 
Clowser, Jack, 107 
Cobb, Ty, 14 
Cochrane, Ed, 55 
Cofall, Stan, 41 

Coffee, Pat (Louisiana State), 265 
Coffeen, Tirnmy, 143 
Cohen, Abe, 182-83 
Cole, Pete (Trinity, Texas), 188 
Colella, Tom (Canisius), 108 
Collins, Eddie, 12 
Collins, Ray (Louisiana State), 


Collins, Ted, 15, 45, 201, 307-09 
Comp, Irvin (St Benedict's), 164 
Conerly, Charles (U. of Missis 
sippi), 194 
Conn, "Tuffy," 34 
Connor, George (Notre Dame), 88 
Conzelman, Jimmy (Washington 

U., St. Louis), 23, 59, 62, 66, 

123, 265-68, 270, 272 
Corcoran, Jerry (U. of Illinois), 

39, 146 

Corey, William, 36 
Corgan, Chuck (U. of Arkansas), 

Craft, Russ (U. of Alabama), 246, 


Craig, Larry (U. of South Caro 
lina), 164 

Creekmur, Louis (William and 
Mary), 138 

Creighton, Milan (U. of Arkan 
sas), 52,265 

Grouse, "Buck/* 295 

Crowley, Jimmy (Notre Dame), 

Cuff, Ward (Marquette), 188-91, 

Cunningham, Bill, 207 

Cuppoletti, Bree (U. of Oregon), 

Cutter, Slade (Annapolis), 100 

Dahms, Tom (San Diego State), 

Danowski, Ed (Fordham), 129, 
180-81, 183, 190 

Darling, "Boob" (Beloit), 147 

Daugherty, Dick (U. of Oregon), 

Davis, Corby (Indiana U.), 93 

Davis, Fred (U. of Alabama), 88 

Davis, Glenn (West Point), 111, 

Dean, Hugh, 128 

De Groot, Dud, 204, 221, 274 

Dell Isola, Johnny (Boston Col 
lege), 184, 190 

Dewar, Jim (Indiana U.), Ill 

Dewell, Billy (Southern Method 
ist), 268 

Dickey, Bill, 14 

Dietz, "Lone Star," 152, 205-07 

Dilweg, Lavern "Lawie" (Mar 
quette), 17, 147, 152 

Di Maggio, Joe, 14 

Dimancheff, Boris "Babe" (Pur 
due), 270-71 

Dimancheff, Mrs. Boris, 270 

Di Meolo, Luby, 304 

Dobie, Gil, 21 

Doehring, John "Bull," 58, 76 

Donelli, Aldo "Buff" (Duquesne), 
94-95, 304-05 

Donohue, Woolworth, 209 



Dorais, Charles E. "Gus" (Notre 

Dame), 33, 37, 135-37 
Doran, Jim (Iowa State), 140 
Dottley, John (U. of Mississippi), 



Doubleday, Aimer, 14 
Douds, Forest "Jap" (Washington 

and Jefferson), 304 
Douglas, Otis (William and Mary), 


Downs, Bill, 248 
Doyle, M. Dorland, 207, 209 
Drake, Johnny (Purdue), 91, 93 
Dressen, Charley, 60 
Driscoll, John L. "Paddy" (North 
western), 17, 26, 59, 63, 69, 71, 


Driscoll, Mrs. John L., 260 
Dudley, Bill (U. of Virginia), 17, 

137, 299, 302-03 
Dunn, Joseph "Red" (Marquette), 

152, 156, 257-58 
Durfee, Jim, 15, 51-53 
Dyer, Eddie, 216 

Earp, Francis "J u g" (Monmouth), 
146-47, 152, 156 

Ebding, Harry (St. Mary's, Cali 
fornia), 80 

Edwards, Albert "Turk" (Washing 
ton State), 17, 188, 204, 208-09, 

Edwards, "Big Bill" (Princeton), 

Edwards, Bill, 135 

Edwards, Dan (U. of Georgia), 

Eilson, Harry, 59 

Eliot, Ray, 102 

Emerson, Grover "Ox" (U. of Tex 
as), 17, 129 

Emmet, Tommy, 131 

Engebretsen, "Tiny" (Northwest 
ern), 162-63, 190 

Erdlitz, Dick (Northwestern), 242, 

Eshmont, Len (Fordham), 192, 
279-81, 287 

Evans, Billy, 94 

Evans, Lon (Texas Christian), 162 

Falkenstein, Tony ( St. Mary's, Cal 
ifornia), 162 

Famiglietti, Gary (Boston U.), 23 
30, 63 

Farkas, Andy (U. of Detroit), 24, 
26, 29, 220, 242 

Farman, Dick (Washington State) 
217, 219 

Fears, Tom (U.C.L.A.), 16, 114, 
118, 120 

Feathers, Beattie (U. of Tennes 
see), 64, 82, 161, 180, 247 

Fekete, Gene (Ohio State), 107 

Feldhaus, Bill (U. of Cincinnati), 

Ferrante, Jack, 246, 250 

Fesler, Wes (Ohio State), 303 

Field, Harry (U. of Oregon), 265 

Fife, D. Lyle, 137 

Filchock, Frank (Indiana U.), 24- 
25, 29, 96, 191, 194 

Filipowicz, Steve (Fordham), 193 

Fink, George, 128 

Finks, Jimmy (U. of Tulsa), 302, 

Finlay, John (U.C.L.A.), 119 

Firestone, Leonard, 91 

Fischer, Emil R., 148 

Fischer, Leo, 255 

Fisher, Ed, 238 

Fisher, Fred, 128 

Fisk, Bill (U. of Southern Califor 
nia), 133 

Fitzpatrick, Leo, 122 

Flaherty, Ray "Red" (Gonzaga), 
17, 24, 180, 182, 186, 204, 208, 
211, 213-14, 219-20 

Flanagan, Dick (Ohio State), 140 

Flanagan, Walter, 69, 267 

Florence, Frank, 199 

Folwell, Bob, 169 

Fortmann, Danny (Colgate), 17, 
24, 44, 65-66, 83 

Francis, Sam (U. of Nebraska), 



Franck, George (U. of Minnesota), 

Frankian, Malcolm "Ike" (St. 
Mary's, California), 180 

French, Walter (West Point), 258 

Friedman, Benny (U. of Michi 
gan), 91, 123, 156, 177-78 

Fritsch, Ted (Stevens Point), 147, 

Fuchs, Judge Emil, 207 

Gage, Bob (Clemson), 163 

Gallarneau, Hugh (Stanford), 86, 
88, 274 

Gantenbein, Milt (U. of Wiscon 
sin), 162-63 

Gaudio, Bob (Ohio State), 110 

Gehrig, Lou, 14, 85 

Gehrke, Fred (U. of Utah), 95 

Gelatka, Chuck (Mississippi State), 

George, Ray (U. of Southern Cali 
fornia), 230 

Gibbs, Ronald, 250 

Gibson, Billy, 167-68 

Gibson, "Butch" (U. of Denver), 

Gillette, Jim (U. of Virginia), 95- 

Gillies, Fred (Cornell), 257-58 

Gillom, Horace (U. of Nevada), 

Gladchuck, Chet (Boston College), 

Goetz, Larry, 236 

Goldberg, Marshall (U. of Pitts 
burgh), 265, 267-69 

Goldenberg, Charles "Buckets" (U. 
of Wisconsin), 162, 164 

Goldie, Jack, 203 

Gordon, Lou (U. of Illinois), 155, 

Graham, Otto (Northwestern), 12, 
16, 106, 108-12, 120, 140, 306 

Grange, Harold "Red" (U. of Illi 
nois), 14, 16,42,46,69-75, 78, 
126, 169, 251, 259-60 

Greenwood, Don (U. of Illinois), 
95, 108 

Grgich, Visco (Santa Clara), 279, 

Griffith, Clark, 209 

Griffith, Corinne; see Marshall, 
Mrs. George Preston 

Grosvenor, George (U. of Colo 
rado), 265 

Groza, Lou (Ohio State), 107, 
111-12, 120 

Gueppe brothers, Al and Art ( Mar- 
quette), 189 

Gutowsky, Leroy "Ace" (Oklaho 
ma City U.), 127, 129, 188 

Guyon, Joe (Carlisle), 35, 67 

Haines, Henry "Hinkey" (Penn 
State), 176-77 

Hajek, Chuck (Northwestern), 

Halas, Frank, 205 

Halas, George (U. of Illinois), 15, 
17, 23, 26-30, 34, 40, 42, 48, 50, 
52, 57-67, 68-79, 80-88, 89, 92, 
99, 114, 124-25, 138, 151, 163, 
166, 169, 197, 201-03, 205-07, 
256-57, 263, 265, 300 

Hall, L. Parker (U. of Mississippi), 

Halloran, Bill, 191 

Hancock, Dr. Frank B., 225 

Handler, Bill (Texas Christian), 
262, 267, 269, 270, 272, 305 

Hanken, Ray (George Washing 
ton), 188 

Hanna, Dan, 91 

Hannagan, Steve, 130-31 

Hanneman, Chuck ( Michigan State 
Normal), 133 

Hanny, "Duke" (Indiana U.), 72 

Harder, Marlin "Pat" (U. of Wis 
consin), 138-40, 250, 268, 271 

Hare, Ray (Gonzaga), 243 

Harmon, Tommy (U. of Michi 
gan), 62, 114 

Hart, Leon (Notre Dame), 48, 137 

Hay, Ralph, 41 

Healy, Ed (Dartmouth), 17, 68- 
69, 73 



Hearst, Jack, 207 
Hearst, William Randolph, 198 
Heffelfinger, "Pudge" (Yale), 12 
Hein, Mel (Washington State), 17, 
74, 178-79, 183-84, 190, 193, 
HeUer, Warren (U. of Pittsburgh), 


Henderson, Gus, 132 
Hendrian, Warren "Dutch" (Prince 
ton), 169 

Herber, Arnie (Regis, Colorado), 

147, 157, 159-60, 162-64, 193 

Heston, Willie (U. of Michigan), 


Hewitt, Bill (U. of Michigan), 16, 

17, 76-78, 80-81, 158, 229-30 

Hightower, Ben (Sam Houston), 


Hill, Charles "Dutch" (Baker), 171 
Hinkle, Clarke (Bucknell), 16, 

158-60, 162, 190 
Hirsch, Elroy "Crazy Legs" (U. of 

Wisconsin), 16, 118 
Hoerner, Dick (U. of Iowa), 111, 

Hoernschemeyer, Robert (Indiana 

Hoffman, Wayne (U. of Southern 

California), 114 
Hogan, Ed, 252 
Hogan, Ed, Jr., 252-53 
Holovak, Mike (Boston College), 

114, 270-71 

Horween, Arnold (Harvard), 256 
Horween, Ralph (Harvard), 256 
Houston, Lindell (Ohio State), 

107, 110 
Howard, Sherman ( U. of Nevada ) , 

Howell, Jim Lee ( U. of Arkansas ) , 

Hubbard, Cal (Geneva), 17, 50, 

75, 152-53, 156-57 
Huffman, Dick (U. of Tennessee), 

Hurlburt, Johnny (U. of Chicago), 

Huston, Cy, 122 

Hutson, Don (U. of Alabama), 12, 
17, 93, 108, 138, 147, 160-64, 

Hymes, Myron, 238 

Ingwersen, Burt (U. of Illinois), 60 
Irwin, Don (Colgate), 208 
Isbell, Cecil (Purdue), 16, 93-94, 

Jacunski, Harry (Fordham), 162 
Jagade, Chick (Indiana U.), 140 
Jankowski, Eddie (U. of Wiscon 
sin), 163 
Joannes, Lee, 145 
Johnson, Bill (Texas A. and M.), 

Johnson, Jack (U. of Utah), 128, 


Johnson, Leo (U. of Illinois), 60 
Johnsos, Luke (Northwestern), 26, 

77, 80, 83-84, 87 
Johnston, Jimmy (U. of Washing 
ton), 28 

Jones, Dave R., 112 
Jones, Dr. David J., 261, 264 
Jones, "Dub" (Tulane), 111-12, 

Jones, Edgar "Special Delivery" 

(U. of Pittsburgh), 107 
Jones, Jerry (Notre Dame), 59 
Jones, "Potsy" (Bucknell), 183 
Jones, Ralph, 27, 58, 64, 76, 79 
Joyce, Don (Tulane), 223 
Justice, Ed "Chug" (Gonzaga), 28, 
216, 242 

Kalmanir, Tommy (U. of Nevada), 


Karcher, Jim (Ohio State), 209 
Karcis, John "Bull" (Carnegie), 


Karr, Bill (West Virginia), 80-81 
Kavanaugh, Ken (Louisiana State), 

24, 27-29 

Kazmaier, Dick (Princeton), 12 
Keller, K. T, 128 
Kellison, John ( West Virginia Wes- 

leyan), 37-38 


Kelly, John Simms "Shipwreck" 

(U, of Kentucky), 161 
Kelly, Dr. W. W., 145 
Kiesling, Walt (St. Thomas), 304- 

Kilroy, Frank "Bucko" (Temple), 

243-44, 250 
Kilroy, Matt, 244 
Kimbrough, "Jarring John" (Texas 

A. and M.), 66 
Kinard, Frank "Bruiser" (U. of 

Mississippi), 116-17, 192 
Kleckner, Bob, 285 
Klewicki, Ed (Michigan State), 


Knop, Oscar (U. of Illinois), 73 
Koehler, Bob (Northwestern), 60 
Kolls, Lou (St. Ambrose), 49 
Kopcha, Joe (U. of Chattanooga), 

82-83, 186 
Kopf, Herb, 237 
Kotal, Eddie (Lawrence), 152 
Kovatch, Johnny (Northwestern), 


Krause, Max (Gonzaga), 29 
Kuharich, Joe (Notre Dame), 272 
Kupcinet, Irv, 55 
Kutner, Malcolm (U. of Texas), 

17, 268, 270-71 

Lach, Steve (Duke), 302 
Lambeau, Earl "Curly" (Notre 

Dame), 40, 56, 85, 99, 142-49, 

150-57, 158, 160-61, 166, 189, 

222, 240-41, 265, 272 
Landis, Judge K. M,, 45, 292 
Langc, "Bill (U. of Dayton), 119 
Lanum, Jake (U. of Illinois), 60 
Latone, tony, 258 
Lauer, John (U. of Detroit), 59 
Lavelle, Jack, 174-75 
Lavclli, Dante (Ohio State), 107- 

08, 111 
Laws, Joe (U. of Iowa), 94, 147, 

Layden, Elmer (Notre Dame), 14, 

45-46, 305 
Layne, Bobby (U. of Texas), 12, 



Lazetich, Milan (U. of Michigan), 


Lee, BiU (U. of Alabama), 162 
Leemans, Alphonse"Tuffy"( George 

Washington), 17, 186-88, 190- 

91, 193, 219 
Leonard, Benny, 167-68 
Leonard, Jim (Notre Dame), 228 
Letlow, Russ (U. of San Fran 
cisco), 162 
Levitas, Howie, 155 
Levy, Frederick, Jr., 94 
Lewellen, Verne (U. of Nebraska), 

147, 152 

Lewis, Art (Ohio U.), 91-92 
Lidberg, Carl (U. of Minnesota), 

Lillywhite, Verl (U. of Southern 

California), 286 
Lindheimer, Benjamin F., 114 
Lindskog, Vic (Stanford), 246 
Lio, Augie (Georgetown), 136 
Lipscomb, Paul (U. of Tennessee), 


Lipscombe, Thomas, 91 
Little, Lou (U. of Pennsylvania), 

37, 224-25 

Little Twig (Carlisle), 35 
Livingston, Howie, 193 
Lotshaw, Andy, 15, 73, 205 
Luckman, Sid (Columbia), 12, 16, 

23, 26-29, 84-86, 87-88, 95, 138 
Lujack, Johnny (Notre Dame), 88, 

Lumpkin, Roy "Father" (Georgia 

Tech), 128 
Lunday, Kayo (U. of Arkansas), 


Lyman, Roy "Link" (U. of Nebras 
ka), 17, 82 
Lyons, Ted, 14 

Mack, Connie, 36 

Madden, Joe, 295 

Magnani, Dante (St. Mary's, Cali 
fornia), 94 

Mahoney, Roger "Ike" (Creigh- 
ton), 257 



Mallouf, Ray (Southern Method 
ist), 250 

Malone, Charley (Texas A. and, 
M.), 24,29,208,214 

Mandel, Fred, 132-33, 135, 137 

Manders, Clarence "Pug" (Drake), 

190, 192 

Manders, Jack (U. of Minnesota), 

28, 77, 80-81, 186 

Maniaci, Joe (Fordham), 23, 29- 
30, 64 

Manske, Edgar "Eggs" (North 
western), 83 

Mara, John, 170, 182 

Mara, Timothy J., 15, 45-46, 48, 
125, 168-69, 177, 186-87 

Mara, Wellington, 170, 186-87 

March, Dr. Harry A., 39, 167-68 

Marefos, Andy (St Mary's, Cali 
fornia), 192 

Marion, Marty, 216 

Marquard, Rube, 60 

Marshall, George Preston, 15, 25, 

29, 196-204, 205-10, 211-13, 
215, 219, 221, 225-26, 296 

Marshall, Mrs. George Preston, 
200, 202, 204 

Marshman, Homer, 91, 94, 112 

Martinovich, Phil (College of the 
Pacific), 29 

Masterson, Bernie (U. of Nebras 
ka), 26-27, 84 

Masterson, Bob (U. of Miami), 29, 

191, 220, 242 

Matheson, Riley "Snake" (Texas 
Mines), 17, 92-95 

Maulbetsch, Johnny (U. of Michi 
gan), 172 

Mauldin, Stanley (U. of Texas), 
17, 268, 271-72 

Maxwell, Don, 258 

McAfee, George (Duke), 17, 24- 
25, 28-29, 86-88 

McBride, Arthur B. "Mickey" 107, 

McBride, Jack (Syracuse), 169, 

McCann, Dick, 96, 217 

McCarthy, Senator Joe, 16 

McChesney, Bob (U.C.L.A.), 194 
McDowell, Jay (U. of Washing 

ton), 249 
McElhenny, Hugh (U. of Wash 

ington), 174-75, 287-88 
McGraw, Thurman (Colorado A. 

andM.), 138 

McHugh, Pat (Georgia Tech), 248 
Mclnerney, Nick (Notre Dame), 

McLaughlin, Leon (U.C.L.A,), 


McLean, Ray (St Anselm's), 24 
McLeod, Bob (Dartmouth), 85 
McMahon, Arnold; see Horween, 


McMahon, J.; see Hurlburt, Johnny 
McMahon, Ralph; see Horween, 

McMillen, Jim (U. of Illinois), 62, 

McMillin, "Bo" (Centre), 137-38, 

McMurdo, Jim (U. of Pittsburgh), 

McNally, Frank (St. Mary's, Cali 

fornia), 265 
McNally, John (St. John's, Minne 

sota), 153; see also Blood, 


McQuade, Franklin, 293 
Meehan, Chick, 182 
Mehre, Harry (Notre Dame), 237 
Mehringer, Pete (U. of Kansas), 


Mercier, Cardinal, 225 
Michalske, August "Mike" (Penn 

State), 17, 152-53, 157 
Michelosen, John (U. of Pitts 

burgh), 305 
Mikulak, Mike (U. of Oregon), 

Miller, Charles "Coke" (Purdue), 

Miller, Giles, 309 

Miller, Heinie (U. of Pennsyl 

vania), 224 
Millner, Wayne (Notre Dame), 

16, 96, 208, 213, 216, 253 



Milstead, Century (Yale), 169, 171 
Minick, Paul (U. of Iowa), 156, 

Mohardt, Johnny (Notre Dame), 

Molenda, "Bo" (U. of Michigan), 

M olesworth, Keith ( Monmouth ) , 

Monachino, Jim (U. of California), 


Monahan, Regis (Ohio State), 129 
Monnett, Bob (Michigan State), 

Moore, Wilbur (U. of Minnesota), 

24, 26, 217, 220 
Morabito, Anthony J. "Tony," 273, 

283-84, 286 

Morabito, Mrs. Anthony J., 284 
Morabito, Vic, 284 
Morgan, Bill (U. of Oregon), 182 
Morris, Glen (Colorado State), 134 
Mossberg, Sammy, 294 
Motley, Marion (U. of Nevada), 

109, 111, 140 
Mount Pleasant, 35 
Muha, Joe (Virginia Military Insti 
tute), 239, 246, 248 
Mulleneaux, Carl (Utah State), 


Mulleneaux, Lee, 162 
Murphy, Don, 144 
Murry, Don (U. of Wisconsin), 72 
Musso, George "Moose" (James 

Millikin), 24, 28, 81, 159 

Nagurski, Bronko (U, of Minne 
sota), 12, 16, 24, 64, 74-76, 78, 
80-82, 87-88, 124-26, 158-59, 
176, 251, 265, 279 

Nash, Robert "Nasty" (Rutgers), 

Naumetz, Fred (Boston College), 
114, 119 

Neal, Ed (Tulane), 165-66 

Neale, Earle "Greasy" (West Vir 
ginia Wesleyan), 37-38, 106, 
234-41, 244-46, 248-49, 251, 
253, 272, 303, 305 

Nesbitt, Dick (Drake), 78 

Nesser, Al 39 

Nesser, Frank, 39 

Nesser, Fred 38-39 

Nesser, John, 39 

Nesser, Phil, 39 

Nesser, Ray, 39 

Nesser, Ted, 39 

Nesser brothers, 38-39 

Nevers, Ernie (Stanford), 16, 155, 

157, 261-62, 265-66, 268 
Newman, Harry ( U. of Michigan ) , 

74, 152, 178-80, 245 
Niccolai, Armand ( Duquesne ) , 302 
Nichols, Hamilton (Rice Institute), 

Nickel, Elbie (U. of Cincinnati), 


Nied, Frank, 41 
Noble, Dave (U. of Nebraska), 

Nolting, Ray (U. of Cincinnati), 

24, 27, 30, 84 

Nomellini, Leo (U. of Minnesota), 

286, 289 
Nott, Doug (U. of Detroit), 128 

O'Brien, Chris, 254-56, 258-61 
O'Brien, David "Davey" (Texas 

Christian), 231-32 
O'Brien, Jay, 207 
O'Brien, Pat, 254 
Olsson, Les (Mercer), 209 
Ordens, Joe, 144 
O'Reilly, John, 296 
Osmanski, Bill (Holy Cross), 23, 

25, 28-29, 88, 116 
Osmanski, Joe (Holy Cross), 88, 


Overall, Orvie, 264 
Overgard, Graham, 124 
Owen, Bill (Oklahoma A. and M.), 

183, 186 
Owen, Steve (Phillips), 17-18, 23, 

32-33 51-53, 75, 99, 170-75, 

176-78, 181-90, 192, 194, 265, 


Pangle, Hal (Oregon State), 265 



Parilli, Vito "Babe" (U. of Ken 
tucky), 166 

Parker, "Ace" (Duke), 93, 192 
Parker, Raymond "Buddy" (Cen 
tenary), 127-29, 138, 270, 272 
Parnell, "Babe" (Colgate), 169 
Parry, Ox (Baylor), 188 
Paschal, Bill (Georgia Tech), 194 
Pasqua, Joe (Southern Methodist), 


Pate, Rupert (Wake Forest), 242 
Patt, John, 91 
Patton, Cliff (Texas Christian), 


Paul, Don (U.C.L.A.), 119 
Pearce, Walter (U. of Illinois), 60 
Peck, Frank, 142-43 
Perry, Joe "Jet" (Compton J. C.), 

175, 286 

Phelan, Jimmy, 255 
Pihos, Pete (Indiana U.), 246, 251 
Pinckert, Ernie (U. of Southern 

California), 208 
Pincura, Stan (Ohio State), 91 
Pitts, Edwin "Alabama," 228-29 
Poillon, Dick (Canisius), 219 
Pollock, William "Reds" (Virginia 

Military Institute), 242 
Pool, J. Hampton (Stanford), 30, 

118, 121 

Porter, Charley, 192 
Potteiger, Earl (Ursinus), 177 
Presnell, Glen (U. of Nebraska), 

80, 125-27 
Price, Charles "Cotton" (Texas A. 

and M.), 134-35 
Price, Eddie (Tulane), 194 
Principe, Dom (Fordham), 192 
Pritchard, Abisha "Bosh" (Virginia 

Military Institute), 239, 246 
Pritko, Steve (ViUanova), 94-95 
Pugh, Marion (Texas A. and M.), 


Pyle, Charles C., 46, 71-72, 169, 

Quatse, Jess (U. of Pittsburg), 302 

Radovich, Bill (U. of Southern 
California), 134, 136-37 

Ramsey, Garrard "Buster" (Wil 
liam and Mary), 268 

Randolph, Clare (Indiana U.), 129 

Ranney, A. F., 41 

Ratterman, George (Notre Dame), 

Ray, Buford "Baby" ( Vanderbilt ) , 

Ray, Hugh L. "Shorty," 15, 55-56, 

Reagan, Fran (U. of Pennsyl 
vania), 252 

Rebele, Carl, 165 

Reeves, Daniel F., 94, 113, 115 

Reeves, Eddie, 209 

Reinhard, Bob (U. of California), 

Rentner, Ernest "Pug" (Northwest 
ern), 208 

Rice, Grantland, 124, 211 

Richards, G. A. "Dick," 15, 122- 
26, 128, 130-33 

Richards, "Kink" (Simpson), 185 

Rickey, Branch, 42, 297 

Riffle, Dick (Albright), 302 

Robb, Harry (Penn State), 247 

Robustelli, Andy (Arnold College), 

Rockne, Knute (Notre Dame), 21, 
33-34, 37, 39, 135, 142, 177, 
237, 294 

Romney, Milt (U. of Chicago), 73 

Ronzani, Gene (Marquette), 81, 
115, 166 

Rooney, Arthur J., 15, 125-26, 
232, 238-39, 291-97, 298-306 

Rooney, Dan; see Rooney, Rev. 

Rooney, Dan, Sr., 293-94 

Rooney, Danny, 300 

Rooney, Jim, 304 

Rooney, Rev. Silas, 293-95 

Rote, Tobin (Rice Institute), 166 

Ruffing, Red, 14 

Russell, Doug (U. of Kansas), 265 

Russell, Jane, 121 


Russell, Torrance "Bo" (Alabama 

Polytech), 191, 217 
Ruth, Babe, 14, 259 
Ryan, Ellis, 112 
Rymkus, Lou (Notre Dame), 107 

Sachs, Lennie (Loyola), 255 
St. John, L. W., 101 
Salsinger, H. G. "Sol," 122 
Sandig, Curtis (St. Mary's, Texas), 

Sauer, George (U. of Nebraska), 

Scarry, Moe (Waynesburg), 95, 


Schabarum, Pete (U. of Cali 
fornia), 287 
Schalk, Ray, 14 
Schissler, Paul, 265 
Schlemmer, Jirn, 123 
Schlinkman, Walt (Texas Tech), 


Schmidt, Francis, 101 
Schneller, John (U. of Wisconsin), 


Schulte, "Wildfire " 264 
Schultz, Eberle (Oregon State), 95 
Schumacher, Art, 141 
Schwammel, Adolph "Tar" (U. of 

Oregon), 162 
Schwartz, Perry (U. of California), 


Scofield, Dave, 290 
Scott, Clyde "Smackover" (U. of 

Arkansas), 252 

Sears, Vic (Oregon State), 233 
Seibold, Champ (U. of Wiscon 
sin), 162 
Seymour, Bob (U. of Oklahoma), 

Shaffer, Lee (Kansas State), 190, 

Shaughnessy, Clark (Stanford), 27, 

58, 64, 114-16, 204, 221, 274 
Shaw, Lawrence "Buck" (Notre 

Dame), 273, 274, 276-78, 283- 


Shaw, Mrs. Lawrence, 284 
Shea, Dennis J., 45 


Sheckard, Jimmy, 264 

Shepherd, Bill (Western Mary 
land), 127-28, 133 

Sherman, Al (Brooklyn College), 

Sherman, "Solly" (U. of Chicago), 

Shugart, Clyde (Iowa State), 217 

Signaigo, Joe (Notre Dame), 309 

Simensen, Don (St. Thomas), 119 

Simms, Art, 168 

Sinkwich, Frank (U. of Georgia), 

Sisk, Johnny (Marquette), 82 

Sisler, George, 12 

Skladany, Ed (U. of Pittsburgh), 

Slater, Fred "Duke" (U. of Iowa), 

Slivinski, Steve (U. of Washing 
ton), 24, 217 

Sloan, Dwight "Paddlefoot" (U. of 
Arkansas ), 134 

Smith, Bill (U. of Washington), 

Smith, Ernie (U. of Southern Cali 
fornia), 162-63 

Smith, Kate, 201, 307 

Smith, Marston, 255 

Smith, Pete, 159 

Smith, Richard "Red" (Notre 
Dame), 151, 174, 189-90 

Smith, Riley (U. of Alabama), 
208, 214, 217 

Smith, Verda T. "Vitamin" (Abi 
lene Christian), 119 

Smith, Wilfrid, 55 

Smukler, Dave "Smuck"( Temple), 

Smyth, Bill (U. of Cincinnati), 114 

Snedegar, "Dad," 237-38 

Snyder, Bob (Ohio U.), 25, 27, 29, 
57, 91-92, 95, 114 

Soar, Hank (Providence), 188-90 

Sohn, Ben (U. of Southern Califor 
nia), 192 

Soltau, Gordon (U. of Minnesota), 



Soucy, Bill (Harvard), 37 

Souza Costa, de, Arthur, 199 

Speaker, Tris, 14 

Spears, "Doc," 74 

Speedie, Mac (U. of Utah), 108- 

Sprinkle, Ed (Hardin-Simmons), 


Stagg, A. A., 21-22, 256 
Staley, A. E., 60 
Standlee, Norm (Stanford), 66, 

86-87, 274, 279, 286 
Stanton, Homer "Dirty," 235 
Steele, Ernie (U. of Washington), 

248-49, 272 

Steen, Jim (Syracuse), 128-29 
Stein, Herbert (Washington and 

Jefferson), 258 
Stein, Russell (U. of Pittsburgh), 


Sternaman, Ed "Dutch" (U. of Ill 
inois), 60-62, 68-69, 71-73, 79, 

Sternaman, Joe (U. of Illinois), 

72-73, 259 
Stewart, Dave, 99 
Stickel, Walt (U. of Pennsylvania), 

Stonesifer, Don (Northwestern), 


Storck, Carl J., 44-45 
Stralka, Clem (Georgetown), 219 
Strickler, George, 149 
Strong, Ken (New York U.), 81, 

129, 179-80, 183, 186, 191 
Strzykalski, Johnny "Strike" (Mar- 

quette), 279, 286, 290 
Stungis, John (Ohio State), 102-03 
Stydahar, Joe (West Virginia U.), 

17, 24, 44, 54, 63, 83, 115-21, 

Susoeff, Nick (Washington State), 

Sutherland, Dr. John Bain "Jock," 

236-37, 298-301, 305 
Svendsen, George (U. of Minne 
sota), 162 
Swiacki, Bill (Columbia), 140 

Taliaferro, George (Indiana U.), 

Tereshinski, Joe (U. of Georgia), 

Terry, Bill, 14, 116 

Thomas, Frank, 160 

Thompson, Alexis "Lex," 232-35, 
238, 250 

Thompson, Tommy (U. of Tulsa) 
166, 239-40, 246, 248, 250-51 

Thorpe, Jim (Carlisle), 13-14 16, 
32-35, 37-38, 41, 66-67, 169 

Thorpe, Tom, 15, 53-54 

Tinker, Joe, 264 

Tinsley, Gaynell "Gus" (Louisi 
ana State), 265-66 

Tinsley, Jess (Louisiana), 265 

Tittle, Yelberton Abraham "Y.A." 
(Louisiana State), 277-78, 287 

Tobin, L. M. "Mike," 70 

Todd, Dick (Texas A. and M.), 
24-26, 217-18, 222 

Tomasic, Andy (Temple), 302 

Toneff, Bob (Notre Dame), 288 

Toogood, Charley (U. of Nebras 
ka), 119 

Topping, Dan, 226, 269, 308 

Torgeson, Lavern (Washington 
State), 140 

Toth, Zollie (Louisiana State), 309 

Towler, "Deacon" Dan (Washing 
ton and Jefferson), 119-20, 140 

Trafton, George (Notre Dame), 
17, 40, 49, 52-53, 60, 63, 73- 
74, 95 

Traynor, "Pie," 297 

Trimble, Cliff, 264 

Trimble, Jim, 253 

Trippi, Charley (U. of Georgia), 
248, 250, 268-71 

Tubbs, Irl, 261 

Tunny, Gene, 167-68 

Turnbull, Andy, 145 

Turner, Clyde "Bulldog" ( Hardin- 
Simmons), 17, 24, 27, 30, 88, 
116, 125, 132, 303 

Tuttle, Orville (Oklahoma City), 
171-72, 188 


Uram, Andy (U. of Minnesota), 

Uremovich, Emil (Indiana U.), 


Valentino, Rudolph, 153 

Van Brocklin, Norm (U. of Ore 
gon), 117-18, 120 

Van Buren, Steve, (Louisiana 
State), 17, 239, 244-52 

Vanzo, Fred "Chopper" (North 
western), 133-34 

Veeck, William, Sr., 60 

Vetrano, Joe (Mississippi South 
ern), 285-86 

Vinson, Carl, 302 

Waddell, Rube, 36 

Wagner, Lowell (U. of Southern 
California), 286 

Walker, Doak (Southern Method 
ist), 48, 137-40 

Walker, Mayor Jimmy, 177, 206 

Walls, Will (Texas Christian), 
188, 219 

Walquist, Laurie (U. of Illinois), 

Walsh brothers, 114 

Walsh, Adam (Notre Dame), 95 

Walsh, "Chile," 94-95 

Ward, Arch, 14-15, 43, 46 

Warner, "Pop," 21, 237-38, 261 

Waterfield, Bob (U.C.L.A.), 12, 
95-96, 111, 114-15, 117-18, 
120-21, 251 

Watner, Abe, 310 

Weinmeister, Arnie (U. of Wash 
ington), 195 

Weiss, Howie (U. of Wisconsin), 

Wendlick, Joe (Oregon State), 230 

West, Stan (U. of Oklahoma), 119 

Westfall, Bob (U. of Michigan), 

Whelchel, John E., 222 

White, Arthur "Tarzan" (U. of Al 
abama), 188 


White, Byron "Whizzer" (U. of 
Colorado), 133, 187, 302-03 

Widseth, Edwin (U. of Minne 
sota), 188 

Wiethe, John "Socko" (Xavier), 

Wilkin, Wilbur "Wee Willie" (St. 
Mary's, California), 24 

Williams, Joe, 169 

Willis, Bill (Ohio State), 109 

Wilson, Billy (Gonzaga), 265 

Wilson, Camp (U. of Tulsa), 137 

Wilson, Faye "Mule" (Texas A. 
andM.), 176 

Wilson, George (Northwestern), 

Wilson, Mrs. George, 28 

Winkler, Jim (Texas A. and M.), 

Winslow, Bob (U. of Southern 
California), 134 

Wistert, Albert "Whitey" (U. of 
Michigan), 243 

Wojciechowicz, Alex "Wojie" 
(Fordham), 133-35, 246, 272 

Wolcott, Fred, 109 

Wolfner, Violet Bidwill; see Bid- 
will, Violet 

Wolfner, Walter, 272 

Woudenberg, John (U. of Den 
ver), 279-80 

Wray, Ludlow (U. of Pennsyl 
vania), 207, 224-26, 228 

Younce, Len (Oregon State), 17, 

Young, "Buddy" (U. of Illinois), 

Younger, Paul "Tank" (Gram- 

bling), 119 

Zambreno, Frank, 71 

Zilly, Jack (Notre Dame), 114-15 

Zimmerman, Roy (San Jose State), 

30, 244 
Zuppke, Bob, 21, 59 




1 04 707